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Poetry Workshop

28 April, 2016: Poetry Workshop


by Claire McMahon

Poetry Workshop

for Anselm Hollo & Grace
Make a poem
make a craft
put the image
square between us—
more metaphor! More simile!
You can't explain
without comparing it
abstraction in poetry is where it's at
deviled eggs found everywhere—
remarkable! You say
and laugh in the kitchen
at us back to back,
in the imaginary kitchen
on our imaginary chairs.
“Poetry Workshop” by Claire McMahon from Emergency Contact. Van Zeno Press, 2007. Used by permission of the author.
Claire McMahon studied with Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Joanne Kyger, Anselm Hollo, Gary Snyder, and Bill Berkson at Naropa University where she and writer Steve Roth founded the journal Make Room for Dada, publishing notable poets like Amiri Baraka, Charles Bukowski, and Bernadette Mayer. She has a PhD from Kent State University. From 2006 – 2010, with poet Lisa Janssen, she co-edited the arts journal MoonLit. In 2007, she published Emergency Contact (Van Zeno Press, 2007). Currently, she runs a monthly poetry workshop with poet Ray McNiece. She is an Associate Dean at Cuyahoga Community College’s Westshore campus.


Write an etheree, a poem of 10 lines with syllable count of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or its reverse, a syllable count of 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Or try a double, as Lori Kusterbeck did.    (Thanks to Lori Kusterbeck for this idea.)

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READ + WRITE: 30 Days of Poetry is a collaboration between Cuyahoga County Public Library and poet Diane Kendig. Our thanks go to Diane and the poets of Northeast Ohio who allowed us to share their poetry.