Guided by poet Richard Blanco, this dynamic and interactive online poetry writing workshop investigates the relationships between personal photographs, imagination, and story.

There are no available registration dates at this time.

SOLD OUT!  Email [email protected] to be placed on a waitlist.

Note: This workshop will be held in a live, online format utilizing the Zoom platform.
Class meets Saturday & Sunday on July 15/16 & 22/23 from 1:30-5pm ET each day.

The Photographic Poem - Richard Blanco
We’ll spend the first weekend session engaged in interactive lectures, exercises, and readings of various illustrative poems, as we take a deep dive into some of the core techniques of poetry, namely: sensory details, modulation of the poetic line, figurative language, and linguistic musicality.  Then you will spend a week on your own drafting three poems using personal photographs as prompts to explore your emotional responses to those photos and mine the conscious and unconscious stories they hold. You will also take new photographs of your own to explore how your poetic eye—like the eye of a camera—focuses and frames your experiences; you’ll then “redevelop” these photos into poems. We’ll spend the second weekend session workshopping all three of your poems as we continue to investigate the relationships between imagery, imagination, and story.

Weekend #1 (July 15 & 16 from 1:30-5pm ET):

  • Meet and Greet
  • Craft Conversations/In-Class Exercises: Sensory Details and Figurative Language
  • Craft Conversations/In-Class Exercises: Line Breaks and Musicality
  • Review Prompts for Poems #1, #2, and #3
  • Read and Discuss Exemplary Poems
  • Fever Writing and Sharing

Weekend #2 (July 22 & 23 from 1:30-5 ET):

  • Work Shops Sessions (Poems #1, #2, #3)
  • Open Q + A / Class Dialogue


“Blanco’s contributions to the fields of poetry and the arts have already paved the path forward for future generations of writers. Richard’s writing will be wonderfully fitting for an Inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity.” —President Barack Obama

“In Whitmanesque fashion, radiating oracular authority, Blanco’s inaugural poem catalogs and celebrates the variegated lives, cultures, languages, and landscapes that constitute our nation.” Major Jackson

“Richard Blanco’s speech invites the reader in with its search for home, a generous love of others, and a persistent reach for what is absent.” —Spencer Reese

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Instructor: Richard Blanco

Selected by President Obama as the fifth inaugural poet in U.S. history, Richard Blanco is the first Latino, immigrant, and gay person to serve in such a role. Born in Madrid to Cuban exile parents and raised in Miami, the negotiation of cultural identity characterizes his four collections of poetry: How To Love a Country, City of a Hundred Fires, which received the Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press; Directions to The Beach of the Dead, recipient of the Beyond Margins Award from the PEN American Center; and Looking for The Gulf Motel, recipient of the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Thom Gunn Award. He has also authored the memoirs For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey and The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of a Lambda Literary Award. His inaugural poem “One Today” was published as a children’s book, in collaboration with renowned illustrator Dav Pilkey. Boundaries, a collaboration with photographer Jacob Hessler, challenges the physical and psychological dividing lines that shadow the United States. And his latest book of poems, How to Love a Country, both interrogates the American narrative, past and present, and celebrates the still unkept promise of its ideals. Blanco has written occasional poems for the re-opening of the U.S. Embassy in Cuba, Freedom to Marry, the Tech Awards of Silicon Valley, and the Boston Strong benefit concert following the Boston Marathon bombings. He is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and has received numerous honorary doctorates. He has taught at Georgetown University, American University, and Wesleyan University. He serves as the first Education Ambassador for The Academy of American Poets.