Navigating Poetics in Workshop and in Design

Yesterday I read alongside the writers of Kearny Street Workshop’s Navigating Poetics workshop.  It was advertised as six weeks of generative writing led by Truong Tran but turned out to be much more.

I originally took the workshop because I have taken workshops with Truong before and knew him as a skilled facilitator who views poetry from multiple angles. He shares the perspectives of visual artists while also being able to slow the writing process down. Truong can pick out one phrase or feeling in a poem and have the writer do a deeper dive into those small spaces in poems. He has been a constant voice in my poems for years. Whenever I revise I always ask, “Is this whole poem as strong as the best two lines?”  When I ask that of my poems and go back to be sure that the whole poem is strong, that is Truong’s influence on my work,

With Shelter-in-Place remote learning is the norm and I was curious how Truong would be able to create a community of writing while also fostering the trust that is needed for writers to give each other constructive feedback. Fostering connection during a Zoom session can be a dissociative task at times and that connection is the main ingredient for successful writing groups.

At the end of the six weeks, I have five new poems which would already be a measure of success. I also have a new writing community and renewed sense of purpose and confidence in my writing.  And I walk away developing a new skill:  e-book design.

I have designed and crafted all my chapbooks.  If you happen to have one of my older chapbooks then please know that each one was put together by hand and is unique. I have always prided myself on making a book with beautiful art and clean type. Huge props to Timothy Vogel and Matt Weber who gave me permission to use their work as my title images.  This process was always fun for me as I was able to play around with the order of my poems and typefaces while also trying to keep some kind of style together.  It was also fun because the words I was playing with were my own.

Sometime in the middle of the Navigating Poetics class I became excited about the prospect of having these new poems published. I was also impressed with the high level of writing from the other Navigating Poetics writers so I proposed to Kearny Street Workshop that the writing from the workshop be published together as an online volume.  Huge thanks to Mihee Kim and Jason Bayani for saying Yes.

Kearny Street Workshop: Navigating Poetics is the e-book I designed. Before I was messing around with my own poems but this time I was making book art that would represent KSW and also honor the writing of my workshop cohort.  I am proud of the finished product. It has intention and voice. There was also a ton of behind-the-scenes collaboration and last minute edits but it came together well, on time, and clean.  I hope you enjoy all the poems and if you feel moved, go to Goodreads and give it a review.  

Reading: KSW’s Navigating Poetics Student Reading

Navigating Poetics
Monday, July 20, 2020
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PDT
Free Zoom Event
Register through Eventbrite

Kearny Street Workshop’s “Navigating Poetics” class, taught by poet and visual artist Truong Tran, is hosting a final student reading to showcase their work!

This six-week class centered around the simple yet elusive question: “How do we make art in times like these?”

Featured Readers: Ravi Chandra, Juliana Chang, An Huynh, Maggie Lam, Bobby Lu, Philana Woo, Marygrace Burns, Oscar Bermeo, Charlyne Sarmiento, Johnny Huy Nguyen, Mirah Lucas, An Bùi, Santisia Ambrosino, Shizue Seigel, Diana Diaz-Noriega, Kris Adhikari.

This is a FREE remote poetry event. Please register at Eventbrite for free ticket and log-in information.

12 Ways: Reading and Book Release

The culminating event of three months of work and collaboration with the 2007 Intergenerational Writers Lab, a joint program of Kearny Street Workshop, Galería De La Raza and Intersection for the Arts is on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 at 7:00 PM!

Join Kearny Street Workshop, Galería de la Raza, and Intersection for the Arts for the final event of the 4th annual 2007 Intergenerational Writers Lab, a reading and book release event for 12 ways: an anthology of the 2007 Intergenerational Writers Lab . The all-genres anthology features new work by a talented and diverse group of contributers, including IWL 2007 writers Maile Arvin, Oscar Bermeo, Nicole Bohn, Jennifer Chien, Jasmin Darznik, Rebecca Foust, Nirmala Nataraj, Lata Nott, Ramekon O’Arwisters, Carlo Sciammas, Jaime Omar Yassin, and Debbie Yee, and lead IWl 2007 artists Uchechi Kalu, Genny Lim, and Octavio Solis,with original cover design by Mark Baugh-Sasaki and letterpress printing by Patricia Wakida.

The IWL is a literary program to explore multiple forms of creative expression and generate new work. This event represents the culmination of the program, a series of workshops and public readings that began in March 2007.

Date: Wednesday, July 11th, 2007

Time: 7 -9 pm

Location: KSW’s space180, 180 capp street, 3rd floor, @ 17th street, san francisco

Cost: $5 – 15 sliding scale.


The 2007 Intergenerational Writers Lab is supported by a grant from the Irvine Foundation.

A collaboration of Kearny Street Workshop, Intersection for the Arts, and Galería de la Raza