Level II Workshop at Brooklyn Poets, Fall 2019

Register by October 27.

“If you lose track of your voice as a writer, go back, eavesdrop, write down everything you hear, and that’s it. That’s you listening to the world,” advises playwright Annie Baker. In this workshop, we will tune in to the rich, wild, alarming and beautiful bits of speech we hear every day—on trains, in coffee shops, offices, classrooms, hallways, libraries and parks—and transform this raw material into poems. We’ll treat eavesdropping and dialogue transcription as a form of generative writing, paying attention to what our inevitably selective, subjective listening tells us about what we’re looking for in the voices around us, what we’re asking language to do for us, and what we have to say as poets. If, as John Berger asserts, “[t]o look is an act of choice,” then to listen is a willful action, too—one that will aid us in uncovering and refining our distinct poetic voices. As we experiment with various tactics for weaving overheard and received speech into our drafts, we’ll take cues from poets such as June Jordan, Eileen Myles, Claudia Rankine, Alice Notley, James Tate, Layli Long Soldier and Tonya M. Foster.

Workshop Details

  • Professor: Emily Hunt

  • Dates: November 3–December 1, 2019

  • Time: Sundays, 3–6 PM

  • Location: Greenpoint

  • Cost: $345

  • Class size: 5–10 students

  • Registration deadline: SUN, OCTOBER 27, 2019

  • Earlybird discount: $15 off by SUN, SEPT 8


Poets House, Fall 2019

Register by October 7.

In this workshop, we’ll embrace the urgency, clarity, volition, and sensuality that can surface when we write to someone or something, rather than about, around, or in light of a subject. Taking inspiration from Bernadette Mayer, Lucille Clifton, Fernando Pessoa, Solmaz Sharif, Dara Wier, and others, we’ll ask, how do our voices change based on whom or what we address? What happens to diction, tone, and form?

Thursdays, October 17–21, 6–8:30pm


Brooklyn Poets, Fall 2019

Register by September 20.

“Sappho steps outside herself. Love has caused her to abandon her body. The green grows greener. Some essential quality deepens as the self is removed,” writes Jia Tolentino on Anne Carson’s translation of Sappho’s Fragment 31. How can poetry open doors to rapture and self-transcendence? What is fruitful, dangerous, and complex about ecstasy? In what language does ecstasy touch or even become grace, death, fear or other truths? Might poems be places where we can detect sharp differences between ecstasy and trance, the ecstatic and the euphoric? As we take these inquiries on, we’ll write new poems based on generative exercises, reaching for the ecstatic in our work. We’ll look to writers Joy Harjo, Fernando Pessoa, Peter Gizzi, Donika Kelly, Emily Dickinson, Kim Hyesoon, Dorothea Lasky, Ross Gay, Rainer Maria Rilke and others to show us where ecstasy lives, how it moves us, what it might build or break down.

Sundays, September 22–October 20, 2019, 3–6pm


Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop


This 3-hour workshop welcomes students who are interested in experimenting with poetry as a dynamic tool for communication, self-expansion, social impact, and worldmaking. We will spend the first hour generating writing based on in-class exercises; we’ll get inspiration from overheard language, visual art, a diverse selection of poetry, and group discussion. The next two hours will be dedicated to workshopping a poem by each student submitted in advance of the class and distributed before we meet. In our time together, we’ll ask ourselves how our ingrained daily and weekly habits, activities, and tendencies are forms of reading and writing, aiming to leave the room awake to the fertile material we encounter daily, and energized to keep writing. The class is capped at 8 students to allow ample time for workshopping each poem.


Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop

141 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201


Sunday, August 25, 12-3pm


To apply, email emilyrhunt@gmail.com with 5 pages of your work or links to your work online. Indicate which poem among the selection you would like workshopped.


$85. Proceeds go toward the instructor, the bookstore, and materials.


Level II Workshop at Brooklyn Poets, Summer 2019


In his book The Life of Plants: A Metaphysics of Mixture, philosopher Emanuele Coccia writes that “the living being is an environment for the world in the same way in which the remaining things of the world are the environment of the living individual. Influence always goes in both directions.” In this workshop, each of us will identify a single object of attention (a particular thing, creature or environment—living or dead, animate or inanimate) at the outset, and then explore it in writing for the duration of our time together, sharpening and expanding our reception, perception, and depiction of it through each new poem we write. Drafts may accumulate as one long poem in parts, or as a series of related poems; our aim will be to transfer the energy of our chosen creature, place, or object into the bodies of our poems. Weekly writing prompts will be inspired by poetic series such as Eleni Vakalo’s “Plant Upbringing” and Lydia Davis’s “The Cows,” and individual poems by Yusef Komunyakaa, Liu Xia, Lucille Clifton, Francisco X. Alarcón, Ana Luísa Amaral, Elizabeth Bishop, Federico García Lorca, Jack Spicer, James Schuyler, and Wong May. Influenced and motivated by these voices, Coccia’s words and Simone Weil’s assertion that “attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity,” we’ll trust that the longer we look at and into our subjects—the more time and energy we offer them in the space of our poems—the more clearly and vibrantly they’ll shine through the words we choose to embody them. In discovering and rediscovering their richness, we’ll attempt to learn more about ourselves and our voices as poets.

Workshop Details

  • Professor: Emily Hunt

  • Dates: June 23–July 21, 2019

  • Time: Sundays, 3–6 PM

  • Location: Greenpoint

  • Cost: $345

  • Class size: 5–10 students

  • Registration deadline: SUN, JUNE 16, 2019

  • Earlybird discount: $15 off by SUN, JUNE 2


This workshop will consist of reading and writing assignments, group discussions, and in class critiques. It will be capped at 9 participants to allow for ample time for close readings of each draft. Optional writing prompts will be given each week for those who are interested in experimenting with them. Rather than adhering to an overarching theme, our discussions will develop in response to the distinct poems and perspectives each writer brings to the room. A few questions we will tackle together: How can poetry allow us to become unstuck, or to synthesize and magnify experience? How can our work trace and reflect back to us the evolution of our thoughts and perceptions, our histories, our ways of moving through the world? What makes certain poems propel, inspire, ground, or capture us, stay with us for years or leave us as quickly as they found us? How do our patterns of moving between environments on the page and on the ground—shifting as they can be—influence our experiences of reading and creating? As we embrace the pleasures and challenges of sharing work with friends and strangers, we will consider voice, image, pacing, diction, and form. We will look closely at the work of writers such as June Jordan, Renee Gladman, Chika Sagawa, Etel Adnan, Ari Banias, and Sara Nicholson, to name a few. We will begin with passages from Muriel Rukeyser’s The Life of Poetry, and her words will carry us through our five weeks together: “Communication comes, to make this place fertile, to make it possible to meet the world with all the resources we have, the fund of faith, the generous instruments of imagination and knowledge. Poetry may be seen as one sum of such equipment, as an image of the kind of fullness that can best meet the evening . . .”



Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop

141 Front St, Brooklyn, NY 11201



2 sessions will run concurrently for 5 weeks; when applying, please indicate which session you prefer:

Session 1: Sundays 11:30am-1:30pm, Oct 8–Nov 5

Session 2: Mondays 7-9pm, Oct 9–Nov 6



To ask questions or apply, email emilyrhunt@gmail.com, indicate whether you prefer the Sunday or Monday session, and include 5 pages of your work or links to your work online. Artists, prose writers, or others who are interested in experimenting with poetry for the first time are very welcome. The cost to participate is $200, and classes will be held at Berl’s Brooklyn Poetry Shop. Proceeds go toward the instructor, the space, and materials.