Instructor: Lee Sharkey
Date & Time: Saturday, March 24 | 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM
Location: USM’s Glickman Library, Portland
Level: Intermediate/Advanced
Maximum Attendees: 12
Fee: MWPA Member $50 | Nonmember $105
Registration Closes: March 15

At a time when public discourse is debased on a daily basis, what is the poet’s responsibility? How can one engage the endangered world without sputtering to silence or lapsing into cliché? How are writers to sustain their imaginations? During WWII, Bertolt Brecht wrote, “In the dark times, will there also be singing? / Yes, there will be singing. / About the dark times.” What might such singing sound like today?

In this workshop, participants will read and discuss poems by poets past and present, American and international, that bear upon a political moment, from quiet lyrics to parables to found poems to impassioned rants and exhortations. They will identify formal strategies those poems employ that offer  further options for their work.

Finally, the class will listen to and reflect on a poem by each workshop participant. Participants will be sent each other’s poems before the class but are not expected to write comments on them beyond any notes they may choose to make for their own use. Marked-up poems will not be given to their authors.

+ SUBMIT After registering, participants should submit one recent poem of theirs that they feel pertains to the topic of the workshop and on which they would like to receive oral feedback from the instructor and the rest of the class. Please email poems as attachments (Word files are preferred, but PDFs are acceptable) to “” with the subject line: “SHARKEY WORKSHOP MSS” by no later than 9:00 a.m. on March 15.

Sharkey_preferredLee Sharkey’s Walking Backwards appeared in 2016 from Tupelo Press. Her earlier collections include Calendars of Fire (Tupelo, 2013), A Darker, Sweeter String (Off the Grid, 2008), and eight other full-length poetry books and chapbooks. Her work has been published in Crazyhorse, FIELD, Kenyon Review, Massachusetts Review, Nimrod, Pleiades, Seattle Review, and other journals. Her awards include the Ballymaloe International Poetry Prize, the Abraham Sutzkever Centennial Translation Prize, the Maine Arts Commission’s Fellowship in Literary Arts, the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance’s Distinguished Achievement Award, and the RHINO Editor’s Prize. She leads a creative writing workshop for adults recovering from mental illness and serves as Senior Editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal. VISIT

All MWPA workshops require advanced registration. We accept registration by phone, mail, and online via PayPal. We cannot guarantee registration in the final 24-hours before a workshop, and can rarely accommodate day-of registration.

Call 207-228-8263 and register with your VISA or MasterCard.

If you prefer to pay by mail, please print this registration form (downloadable PDF) and mail it to the MWPA with a check or credit card information.



The MWPA is proud to offer one full scholarship to this workshop for members-only. Scholarships are awarded on a combination of need and merit. Application Due in the MWPA office on March 12 at 9:00 a.m.

Registration in any MWPA workshop, program, or event constitutes your agreement to our terms and conditions.