The Poetry of Witness

11/10/2021 01:00 AM - 03:00 PM ET


Charlotte Lit's Studio Two
1817 Central Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205


This session takes head-on what poet Carolyn Forche calls “the poetry of witness” and its advocacy “for a shared sense of humanity and collective resistance.” Writing “the poetry of witness,” is not simply a question of conscience, zeal, and commitment to social change and justice, but of craft and control, especially when the poet’s personal testimony (witness) is so often central to the poem at hand. We’ll closely read and discuss of a number of poems, in the anthology, Crossing the Rift: North Carolina Poets on 9/11 & Its Aftermath, that exemplify “the poetry of witness,” examining them through a “writerly eye” (reading like a writer) and paying careful attention to the kinds of craft choices that influence the emotional voltage and meaning of a given poem. You’ll be given the opportunity to write for the last part of the workshop and to read what you draft, followed by group feedback. Registration fee includes a copy of the anthology. 

About the Instructor: Joseph Bathanti is former North Carolina Poet Laureate, and recipient of the 2016 North Carolina Award in Literature. He is author of ten books of poetry, including This Metal, nominated for the National Book Award, and winner of the Oscar Arnold Young Award; Restoring Sacred Art, winner of the 2010 Roanoke Chowan Prize, awarded annually by the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association; Concertina, winner of the 2014 Roanoke Chowan Prize; and The 13th Sunday after Pentecost, released by LSU Press in 2016. His novel, East Liberty, won the 2001 Carolina Novel Award. His novel, Coventry, won 2006 Novello Literary Award.

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