Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Immense Suggestion, June 15-August 3.

The Immense Suggestion: Claiming Poet as Your Master Status
An Eight-Week Poetry Workshop at La Casa Azul Bookstore

June 15-August 3, 2014

Creole wasn't trying any longer to get Sonny in the water. He was wishing him Godspeed. Then he stepped back, very slowly, filling the air with the immense suggestion that Sonny speak for himself.

-James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues

The term "master status" is defined in sociology as the primary character identity of a given individual, an identity that pervades and influences all other characteristics. It's the capital letter at the beginning of words like Mother, Father, Philosopher, Historian, Teacher, Laborer; to name a few. Most of us learn, eventually, that we must possess several master statuses at once, if we are to survive in this time.

For eight weeks at La Casa Azul, we will cultivate the master status of Poet. We will discuss the various ways in which the title Poet has changed (and not changed) over the centuries, the development of the different genres of writing (and how they relate), and the different ways in which we claim the title Poet today. We will analyze how home, place, influence, education, and other factors affect the way we claim our poetic selves, in relation to our other selves. We will also look at the unique activist/truthtelling role of the Poet in society at large.

You will develop the language you need to describe your individual voice. You will use the poetic forms you already possess (even if you think you didn't) to stretch that voice. And you will write toward the beginnings of a manuscript: ten new pages (at least) of well-crafted poems. We'll meet every Sunday from June 15th-August 3rd, and each participant will have a one-on-one session with me.

We'll also look at the ways we distribute our work, and how to present our poems in professionally performed or published forms.

At the end of the eight weeks, you will have the opportunity to share what you've written with an audience at La Casa Azul Bookstore. And you will go forward knowing what a Poet's mission is, knowing a new way of seeing the world. With the immense suggestion, of course, that you speak--both for yourself and for the world you want to see.

(Plus, if you know me: there may be just a little tomfoolery during the workshop. :-) It can't be ALL serious, can it?)

To sign up for the workshop, please send five to ten (5-10) pages of poems (10 poems maximum), along with two paragraphs on 1) how you came to poetry, and 2) what expect to glean from your time with the group. Send these asap to

Seating will be limited, so don't wait!

$300 for 8 sessions.

The PayPal link at the right of this page can be used to pay. If you need a payment plan, email me.

EMAIL ALL SUBMISSIONS AND QUESTIONS with the subject line "Immense Suggestion" to

Rich Villar is the author of Comprehending Forever (Willow Books, 2014). He has been quoted on Latino literature and culture by both The New York Times and the Daily News, and his poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Black Renaissance Noire, Hanging Loose, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, and Sou'wester. He is a co-founder of Acentos, a grassroots project fostering audiences for Latino/a literature.

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