This workshop will delve into the ubiquity in English poetry of the sonnet, a form at once elastic and strict, durable and dissolute, old-fashioned and ever-renewing. Students will write and explore every variation stemming from the Italian and English models to the modern period and beyond. What is it that makes the sonnet so useful as a baseline for composition? How can writing sonnets improve and refine a poet’s prosody—even if you don’t wind up writing a sonnet at all? How do the ideas embedded in the form translate to contemporary poetic practice? This generative workshop will wrestle with all of these questions and point toward numerous possible answers that will refine and revivify your relationship to both form and content.
Gregory Crosby is the author of Walking Away From Explosions in Slow Motion (The Operating System, forthcoming 2018), as well as the chapbooks Spooky Action at a Distance (The Operating System, 2014) and The Book of Thirteen (Yes Poetry Press, 2016). For more than a decade he worked as an art critic, columnist and cultural commentator in Las Vegas, where he served as a poetry consultant for the Cultural Affairs Division and was instrumental in the creation of the Poets Bridge public art project. He was awarded a Nevada Arts Council Fellowship in Literary Arts and holds an MFA in creative writing from the City College of New York, where he won the 2006 Marie Ponsot Poetry Prize. He is an adjunct associate professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and teaches creative writing at Lehman College–CUNY.