Sundress Academy for the Arts and the UT Creative Writing Department Present
What Work Is: An Investigation of Labor and Arts
Join us in an exciting workshop “What Work Is: An Investigation of Labor and Art,” which will focus on the intersections of work and art in poetry and the importance of sharing art with communities outside of the academy.
In this workshop, participants will read and write poems about labor in addition to sharing how labor and creative pursuits do and do not intersect and cultural attitudes about poetry and identity. For example, the class might discuss access to poetry in our communities, attitudes held toward poetry growing up, and the potential and limitations of poetry to document issues in out communities.
The workshop will investigate issues of class, race, gender, and form in poems from Natasha Trethewey’s Domestic Work (2000) and Charles Reznikoff’s Poetry: 1918-1975 (1989). Together, the group will brainstorm images and consider how elements from our working life might shape a poem thematically and formally. For example, how might the way we measure time, organize information, or talk at work translate into how we use white space, line length, tone, or voice? How can one incorporate the sensory and vernacular experiences of everyday labor into art? How have family’s work experiences influenced our outlooks? Finally, participants will draft a poem and share work as a group.
Allison Pitinii Davis is the author of Line Study of a Motel Clerk (Baobab Press, 2017), a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award’s Berru Award for Poetry and the Ohioana Book Award, Poppy Seeds (Kent State University Press, 2013), and winner of the Wick Poetry Chapbook Prize. She holds fellowships from Standford University’s Wallace Stegner Program, the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and the Severinghaus Beck Fund for Study at Vilnius Yiddish Institute. Her poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry 2016, The New Republic, Crazyhorse, The Missouri Review, and elsewhere. She is a PhD student at The University of Tennessee.