The Writer's Studio: The Epistolary Poem

Mon March 6th 2023, 6:00 - 7:30pm
Event Sponsor
Hume Center for Writing and Speaking, Stanford Storytelling Project, Creative Writing Program
Hume Center for Writing and Speaking, Room 201

Kelly Sikkema | Unsplash

On March 6, please join us for The Epistolary Poem, a Writer's Studio workshop hosted by Madeleine Cravens.

T.S. Eliot once wrote that “a good love poem, though it may be addressed to one person, is always meant to be overheard.” Epistolary poems–– poems that take the form of a letter––share this paradox. They convey a sense of intimate communication between two parties, but are ultimately intended to be read by a larger audience. In this workshop, we will look at a variety of short contemporary letter poems by John Keene, James Schuyler, Marilyn Hacker, Rachel Mennies, and others. We will attempt to discern what exactly distinguishes a letter poem from other poems that engage a second-person “you,” and to identify what effects these craft decisions create for readers. Finally, we will draw upon techniques of correspondence to begin our own pieces of writing. Fiction and nonfiction writers welcome.

Madeleine Cravens is a Wallace Stegner Fellow in Poetry. She was the first-place winner of Narrative Magazine's 2021 Poetry Contest and 2020 30 Below Contest, a finalist for the James Hearst Poetry Prize, and a semifinalist for the 92Y Discovery Prize. Her work can be found or is forthcoming in the Adroit Journal, American Chordata, Best New Poets, the Kenyon Review, and Third Coast, among other publications.