• Makena Onjerika

black sunlight, an exploration of poetry with clifton gachagua (postponed)

Updated: Jun 16

time: 5pm - 9pm (kenyan time)

place: zoom

start date: to be announced. (this class' start date has been postponed due to few applications. if you wish to attend, please make your application. we will decide on a start date once the class has quorum)

duration: 12 sessions over 12 weeks

cost: $180 or kes 19500 (payable in two installments)

clifton gachagua is the author of Madman at Kilifi, the first winner of the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poetry, and The Cartographer of Water (University of Nebraska Press). he is a founder and editor of Down River Road, a journal of fiction and ideas. he was selected for Africa39 (a selection and celebration – through a festival and an anthology of stories/extracts – of the most promising 39 authors under the age of 40 from Sub-Saharan Africa and the diaspora). clifton has worked at Kwani? as an assistant editor. his work appears in Manchester Review, Africa Writers Trust, Saraba, Jalada, Kwani?, Harvard Divinity Journal, Poetry Foundation, The Gonjon Pin and Other Stories (Caine Prize Anthology), AfroSF: Science Fiction by African Writers, Sunspot Jungle, PEN America. he has also worked as a scriptwriter.

this is an intensive poetry workshop that involves the writing and critiquing of original work as well as discussion of assigned readings: essays on poetics and poems that demonstrate various compositional strategies. lyric, fixed and free verse, as well as more avant-garde and experimental poetry will be explored. in this class we move beyond the traditional of form and what form means. we will ask questions such as "what does it mean to write as you?"; "what is elementary after studying the classics?"; "do you even need to study them?". this is a curriculum built between Dickinson and Marachera.

participants will meet for a four-hour weekly class devoted to sharing work, peer critique, and discussing issues in poetics and craft. the workshop will culminate in the submission of a portfolio of original work. clifton will provide all reading materials for the class.

required textbooks:

Robert Hass. A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry

Gail Sher. One Continuous Mistake: Four Noble Truths for Writers

Zapruder Matthew. Why Poetry

Margaret Atwood: On Writers and Writing

other relevant poems, essays, and links will be provided on Google Drive during the duration of the workshop.

to apply for this class, you need to submit 3 or 4 poems, published or unpublished and no longer than 40 lines each to by 15th June 2021. each poem should appear on a new page. you can use any font as long as the font size is 12 point.

to apply for one of the two scholarships available, please also include the following to your application: a submission that in the terms of text and form extends the ideas of poetry. anything from podcasts and Vimeos and YouTubes to maps and illustrations or others. scholarship applications are due on 8th June 2021. scholarship results will be announced by 15th June 2021.

things to note

  1. you can pay your fee in two installments. The first one must be made before you attend classes and the second within 30 days.

  2. no refund is possible once you attend the first class.

  3. check that your internet connection can sustain an online class lasting up to 3 hours.

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