Having Our Imagist Cake and Eating It, Too
“You owe reality nothing and the truth about your feelings everything.”
~Richard Hugo, Triggering Town
For me, the central question/task of poetry is how to make something that feels alive on the page. How do we get to the heart of what we are trying to say, without being overly didactic or too shy? How do we to approach what we are unable to approach, when we are stuck and overwhelmed, staring at a blank page? Good poetry should guide itself, not be dragged kicking and screaming towards a predestined conclusion. Good poetry allows the poem permission to steer itself. But how, practically, can we achieve this? And how can we take linguistic and formal risks while staying emotionally honest. In other words, how can we have our imagist cake and eat it too?
This workshop is a practical guide to generating new ideas & experimenting with text, but it’s also about how we integrate emotional honesty into our writing practice, and how we can adapt formal exercises, (which are so often sterile and cerebral) to bring us closer to the heart of what we are trying to say.
Hera Lindsay Bird is a poet from Wellington. Her debut collection Hera Lindsay Bird was published by Victoria University Press in 2016, and has gone on to be reprinted several times since. She has published work in the Toast, The Hairpin, The Listener and The Spinoff, and her book has been featured in The Guardian, Vice, and The Sunday Star Times. She believes in emotional honesty, excessive similes, and the occasional dick joke.
The 2017 Kāpiti Writers’ Retreat