College of Poetry Announces Fall Workshops

The good folks at the College of Poetry sent along the following info about their upcoming fall workshops.

The College of Poetry at 7 West Street in Warwick has announced three workshops to be offered during the fall term to run from October 14 until December 4: one focusing on song lyrics, one on mythology, and one on confessional poetry.  Each workshop will meet for two hours a week during the eight week course.  Tuition for each is $150. Enrollees are regarded as "guest poets," and workshops are presented in a casual and open manner designed to be useful for writers of all levels of experience.

On Thursday evenings from 7 p.m. until 9 p.m. singer-songwriter Paul Siegel will present Lyricism – The Art of the Song Poem. Recognizing that poetry used as song lyrics has a particular character distinct from written or spoken poetry, Siegel plans to analyze successful songs (including visits by other regional songwriters) and the history of sung lyrics as a route to developing greater skill to critique and practice one’s own songwriting skills. Questions to be considered include: how are songs different from other poems? What makes a successful lyric? What can we learn from the history of American song? What is the role of the music?

Influenced in his youth by the examples of Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, Paul Siegel played in a number of band during the 1980s and 90s, including Dogtalk, an "infectious groove" funky rock band, Charley Django, a grunge rock band and Baggabones, embracing more folk traditions. For the last ten years, he has concentrated on solo performance. Throughout his life, in a number of different genres, Siegel has maintained his commitment to discovering the timelessness of what makes a song great. Musical samples and further information are available on his website at

On Saturday morning from 10 a.m. until 12 noon William Seaton will conduct a workshop with the title Truer than True: Mythology and Poetry. According to Seaton people have always made sense of the world through mythological symbolic systems. Hardly a simple lie, a myth is in a way “truer” than mere facts; true and false at once, it is rather like poetry. Many modern artists have sought to recover a mythological point of view. Workshop participants will read texts with mythological elements and then will experiment with myth in their own poetry. The course will take account of traditional, literary, modern, and idiosyncratic myths.

William Seaton is the author of Spoor of Desire: Selected Poems (FootHills Publishing), Tourist Snapshots (CC Marimbo). His Dada Poems from the German is forthcoming from Nirala. Seaton’s poetry, reviews, translations, and essays have recently appeared in Poetry Flash, Chiron Review, Adirondack Review, Gander Press Review, Burp, and Chronogram. He directs the Poetry on the Loose Reading/Performance Series, and posts five essays, literary and familiar, every month at He has in the past taught at L.I.U., the University of Iowa,West Africa, and in prison.

The Saturday afternoon course from 1:30 until 3:30 p.m. is entitled 2/3 Confessional. During this workshop, led by Rebecca Schumejda, the focus will be on confessional poetry arising directly from personal experience including work by Lowell, Plath, Sexton, and Berryman as well as others. Participants will practice blending lived experience with imagination to create poetry, “bending” the truth and utilizing metaphors to reach your readers, and saying too much vs. not saying enough. The course will culminate with a final presentation of finished work.

Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Falling Forward (sunnyoutside) The Map of Our Garden (verve bath), and Dream Big Work Harder(sunnyoutside press), and The Tear Duct of the Storm (Green Bean Press). She holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from SUNY New Paltz and an M.A. in Poetics and Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. Her work has been or will be published in the following online and print journals: Brouhaha, Chronogram, Home Planet News, Underground Voices, and Wilderness House Literary Review. Briefly the owner of a pool hall, she is currently working on a collection of poems exploring the pool hall subculture.

To register or to obtain further information, contact William Seaton at or call (845) 294-8085.

Every term the College sponsors a reading by a distinguished visiting poet. This term it will be Janine Pommy Vega who will read on November 13. Vega’s first book, Poems to Fernando, was published by City Lights in 1968 as part of their City Lights Pocket Poets. She is the author as well of The Green Piano, Mad Dogs of Trieste, and Tracking the Serpent. Often associated with the Beat writers, she is a poet with international interests and influences.

Apart from these events, the College offers readings twice a month at the 7 West Street address: the Poetry on the Loose series on the first Saturday of every month and the Warwick Valley Poets series on the third Saturday.