of this painful world.” – Basho
It can be difficult, in these trying times, to make space for praise, or to notice the occasion for it. It is easy to believe it, even, selfish. (“Forgive me, distant wars, for bringing flowers home,” writes Szymborska.) But to find in dark times things to praise is not to be ignorant of suffering—it is to, despite our suffering, survive. In this generative workshop, we will look to poems by poets like Lucille Clifton, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Franz Wright, Pablo Neruda, Joy Harjo, and Gregory Orr that praise the erotic, the mundane, the difficult, and the divine as we write our own (fully, painfully) aware poems of celebration and ecstasy.
Leila Chatti is a Tunisian-American poet and author of Deluge, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2020, and the chapbooks Ebb (Akashic Books, 2018) and Tunsiya/Amrikiya, the 2017 Editors' Selection from Bull City Press. She is the recipient of scholarships from the Tin House Writers’ Workshop, The Frost Place, and the Key West Literary Seminar, grants from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, and fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and Cleveland State University, where she is the inaugural Anisfield-Wolf Fellow in Publishing and Writing. Her poems appear in Ploughshares, Tin House, American Poetry Review, and elsewhere.