The Function of (Inherited) Form – Workshop with Cyree Jarelle Johnson

Inherited poetic forms, defined here as metered and/or structured verse with rules passed to the modern poets by long-dead bards, can be intimidating and fraught. In this five week introduction to formal verse, we will familiarize ourselves with the many uses of form, and interrogate the trajectory of poetic formalism. 

We will do close readings of classic poems in inherited forms, as well as modern poets writing sonnets, villanelles, pantoums, and sestinas. We will also interrogate how and why formal verse survived in the presence of free verse. 

This course is designed with poets new to poetic formalism in mind, but all are encouraged to join us!

Cyree Jarelle Johnson

Cyree Jarelle Johnson is a writer and librarian living in New York City. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Boston Review, and Rewire News. He has given speeches and lectures at The White House, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The University of Pennsylvania, The Philadelphia Trans Health Conference, Tufts University, and Mother Bethel AME Church, among other venues. His work has been profiled on PBS Newshour, Rooted in Rights, and Mashable. Cyree Jarelle has received fellowships and grants from Culture/Strike, Leeway Foundation, Astraea Foundation, Rewire.News/Disabled Writers, Columbia University, and the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund. He is a founding member of The Harriet Tubman Collective and The Deaf Poets Society. His first book of poetry SLINGSHOT is available from Nightboat Books. Find Cyree Jarelle on the internet @cyreejarelle or www.cyreejarellejohnson.com.