Instructor: Christian Barter
Date & Time: Saturday, October 21 | 10:30 AM to 4:00 PM
Location: USM’s Glickman Library, Portland
Level: Open
Maximum Attendees: 12
Fee: MWPA Member $55 | Nonmember $110
Registration Closes: October 16

“I’ll tell my state as though ‘twere none of mine,” Robert Browning famously said about writing dramatic monologues. One of poetry’s fundamental ironies—and opportunities—is that often a writer can speak more truthfully about what’s in their own heart by inhabiting another’s voice. Christian Barter, author of Secret Evidence, a book-length poem of linked monologues, will lead this workshop on monologue’s potentials and pitfalls.

Participants will look at some published monologues and talk about the ways in which they are successful, especially in comparison to the personal lyric, which has become the prevailing mode in poetry. Attendees will learn the basic principles of writing in persona, such as: specific setting, self-undermining, narrative detail, and the need to speak.

Through in-class prompts, participants will draft monologues to share and workshop with the class. Each participant will also have the chance to receive feedback on a previously written monologue. Throughout, participants will be encouraged to steal lines, ideas, situations and characters from all over (including each other), and make them their own by translating these details into the voices of the personas through whom they write.

+ PLEASE SUBMIT After registering, participants are asked to submit a monologue/persona poem (no more than two pages) for discussion by the group, by no later than 9:00 AM on October 12. Please email the manuscript (as a WORD doc or PDF) to with the subject line: “BARTER WORKSHOP MSS”

+ PLEASE BRING On the day of the workshop, attendees are asked to bring an idea for a real-life character you might want to embody in a poem. Bring a list of specifics about this person’s life, especially details about what they do for work, what kind of place they live in, who the most important person is in their lives and what that relationship is like.

Christian Barter is a poet living and working in Bar Harbor, Maine.  His first book The Singers I Prefer was a Lenore Marshall Prize finalist; his second, In Someone Else’s House, was the winner of the 2014 Maine Literary Award for Poetry; Bye-bye Land, a book-length poem, will be published by BOA Editions in early 2017 as the winner of the Isabella Gardner Prize.  HIs poetry has appeared in Ploughshares, Georgia Review, The American Scholar, Epoch and other magazines and has been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac.  Christian has held the Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University and been a fellow at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony.  His primary occupation is working on a trail crew, planning and overseeing construction and rehabilitation of hiking trails on Mount Desert Island.  He is currently serving as Poet Laureate of Acadia National Park. 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 October 9 at 9:00 a.m.

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