When we finish writing a poem, we feel like celebrating. But the poem itself is an act of celebration, and the best thing our work can do is to uplift the eye, the heart and the language. In this workshop, we’ll explore the possibilities of the ode, considering both what a praise song has been in the past (for the Greeks, the Romantics) and the unlikely places it can take us today. We’ll look at the work of Pindar, Keats, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer, Sharon Olds, Matthea Harvey, Ross Gay and many other poets as we seek out new and unexpected ways to celebrate. As an ode always has its object of praise, this will also be a study in deep looking, giving intensified attention to the world in front of us.
Jay Deshpande is the author of Love the Stranger (YesYes Books), named one of the top debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers. A winner of the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award and Narrative‘s Annual Poetry Contest, he has received fellowships from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri and the Key West Literary Seminar. His poems have recently appeared in Denver Quarterly, Washington Square, LARB Quarterly Journal and Horsethief. He holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. He has taught workshops for Poets House and the Academy of American Poets and currently teaches at Rutgers University and in the MFA program at Columbia University.