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

Jun 24, 2024 - Jun 28, 2024

Levels: All
Workshop Fee: $1595
Workshop Duration: 1-week (Monday-Friday)
Workshop Location: On-campus
Class Size: 10

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

The Photographic Poem - Richard Blanco
We’ll spend our week 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.  You will draft several 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 then spend time workshopping all of your poems as we continue to investigate the relationships between imagery, imagination, and story.

Workshop Structure

  • 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
  • Read and Discuss Exemplary Poems
  • Fever Writing and Sharing
  • Workshops Sessions (Poems)
  • Open Q + A / Class Dialogue

What to Bring?

Bring a camera of your choice to capture new photos from which we will develop new poems from.


“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.