Instructor: Bruce Guernsey
Date & Time: Saturday, June 24 | 10:30 AM to 2:30 PM
Location: The Gem, Bethel
Level: Open
Maximum Attendees: 12
Fee: MWPA Member $45 | Nonmember $100

Because the poet dictates line breaks—rather than the conventions of grammar as in prose—the poem has traditionally occupied a unique space on the page, one that can bewilder some readers. This workshop will explore the “when” and “why” of breaking a line.

To do so, participants will read examples of good and less-than-good line breaks from modern and contemporary poems. Through these examples, the class will explore the art of the line break, including the central question of “What is a line versus a sentence?,” the possible over-reliance on the sentence in much of contemporary poetry, and the overuse of the verb “to be.”

Participants will have the opportunity to examine and revise the line breaks in their own work.

+ BRING Please bring 13 copies of one poem, either your own or one that you admire, to the workshop. Poems may be up to one-page.

Bruce Guernsey is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Eastern Illinois University where he taught Creative Writing and 19th Century American Literature for twenty-five years. He has also taught at William and Mary, Johns Hopkins, and Virginia Wesleyan where he was Poet in Residence for four years. He was awarded seven faculty excellence awards for teaching at Eastern Illinois, and in 1992-93, was selected as the State of Illinois Board of Governors’ “Professor of the Year,” the highest award in that state system. He has also been the recipient of two Senior Fulbright Lectureships in American Poetry to Portugal and to Greece and has twice sailed around the world as a faculty member with Semester at Sea.

His poems have appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, The American Scholar, and many of the quarterlies, and among his awards are fellowships in creative writing from the NEA, four from the Illinois Arts Council, and the NEA Residency Fellowship at the MacDowell Colony. Five of his poems have been featured in Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry.” He is a former editor of The Spoon River Poetry Review.

The author of thirteen collections of poetry, his most recent book is FROM RAIN: Poems, 1970-2010 (Ecco Qua Press, 2012).   He also recently edited Mapping the Line: Poets on Teaching, a collection of class-tested exercises, written and used by some of the country’s best poet/teachers.

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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 June 12 at 9:00 a.m.

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