The Focus NYC stands as bedrock and metaphor. It has become emblematic of motion, progression, controlled chaos, the height of culture, and exchange of ideas. But it also amplifies all that does and does not work in The United States. If this city represents not only urban centers across the country, but also the individual as they understand themselves as part and whole, how can we pull from the exchange of tangible and intangible made real? How can we harness the prosody of a city street and transfer it to our poetry and prose writing? How can we move down the page as the One Train barreling under Broadway?
The Route From synapse to street corner, we vacillate between moments of intense connection and isolation [the individual as the collective : micro as macro]. This is true of many places where people meet, around the globe, to exchange ideas. Each time we are pulled within, then tugged out, we are witnessing the writing mind in action. By reading New York City poetry from the Industrial Revolution right up to today, we will learn how poets have drawn and continue to draw from individuality in order to connect with collective determination on the page. The poetry may be physically housed within city limits, but it reaches out and across humanity. Each week will be an opportunity create new work, mimic the forms and content that resonate with us, and connect with other poets doing this work right alongside us.
The Means In this non-traditional workshop, we will each be challenged to think outside of our comfort zones and trust our creative impulses. The artist in you will be respected and nurtured here. I seek only to move you further along the trajectory you have set for yourself-- I am not here to criticize your content, influence your creative impetus, or steer you down "traditional routes." If you would like help setting a creative trajectory, we can work together to identify the sonic impulses you return to and the quiet themes emerging in your work. I look forward to spending this time with you and showing you around the real and imagined city my family has called home for six generations.
The Instructor Jen Fitzgerald is a poet, essayist, photographer, and a native New Yorker who received her MFA in Poetry at Lesley University and her BA in Writing at The College of Staten Island (CUNY). She is the host of New Books in Poetry Podcast, a member of New York Writers Workshop, and was a Bread Loaf 2014 Conference participant. She teaches creative writing workshops online and around NYC. Her first collection of poetry, The Art of Work was published by Noemi Press in September of 2016. Her essays, poetry, and photography have appeared in such outlets as PBS Newshour, Boston Review, Tin House, Salon, PEN Anthology, Colorado Review, Harriet: The Poetry Foundation Blog, Best American Poetry Blog, among others. She now divides her time between N.Y.C. and D.C. where she is at work on a few exciting projects and collaborations.