Unlock the artistry of metaphors with Taylor Mali, exploring the deeper purpose of metaphors and how they shape language and thought.

Jul 11, 2024 - Aug 1, 2024

Levels: All
Workshop Fee: $595
Workshop Duration: 8 hours over four sessions (Thursdays, 10am-12pm ET)
Workshop Location: Online
Class Size: 12

Note: This workshop will be held in a live, online format utilizing the Zoom platform.
Class meets Thursdays, Jul 11, 18, 25 & Aug 1 from 10am-12pm ET.

You may have been taught by a well-meaning English teacher that a metaphor is “a way of comparing two things.” But that’s not a particularly useful description of what a metaphor is or how they work, and it sidesteps the question of why we use metaphors—why humans all over the world have invented metaphor in every language. The purpose of a metaphor is to talk about one thing while actually referencing something else.

Taylor Mali’s Metaphor Dice is based on the understanding that a metaphor is a kind of equation between an IDEA and an OBJECT—like poetry and a songbird—with an adjective thrown in like a variable. Is poetry a type of desperate songbird?  Or have you ever heard the songbird of desperate poetry?

Movement and Shape in Narrative (banner 2) - By Dave Bell
Join us for insightful discussions, creative prompts, and inspiration from master poets like Sharon Olds and Robert Frost.

Each two-hour workshop begins with a quick prompt and ends with a slightly long one. In between is plenty of voluntary sharing, words of encouragement, discussion of craft, and the reading of one master text from a poet like Sharon Olds, Wislawa Szymborska, Robert Frost, Mary Oliver, or anyone who has written a line that relies on metaphor. No experience is necessary, but of course, it helps.

Likely gratuitous EPEXEGESIS: Every human culture has eventually—independent of each other—invented and employed metaphor in their language because all languages are ultimately inadequate to the task of accurately expressing what we feel and think and understand about the world we live in. The best we can ever hope for is to come close to expressing what we mean. Particularly with the biggest and most complex feelings and concepts we encounter. Things like love, and death, and longing are so difficult to describe that it’s easier to pretend at the outset that they are actually just like smaller more tangible things that are more easily discussed, held in the hands, and considered from different angles.

Images by Dave Bell.

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Instructor: Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement. He is one of the few people in the world to have no job other than that of “poet.” Articulate, accessible, passionate, and downright funny, Mali studied drama in Oxford with members of The Royal Shakespeare Company and puts those skills of presentation to work in all his performances. He was one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry and was the “Armani-clad villain” of Paul Devlin’s 1997 documentary film SlamNation. His poem “What Teachers Make” has been viewed over 4 million times on YouTube and was quoted by the New York Times’ Thomas Friedman in one of his commencement addresses.