“The Art of Revision: A Craft Talk & Workshop” with Joan Houlihan

Joan Houlihan will be teaching “The Art of Revision: A Craft Talk & Workshop” for the Hudson Valley Writer’s Center on May 2 from 12:30 pm – 4:30 pm EST on Zoom. The registration fee is $124.

Here’s the description:

“More than any of the other writing arts, poetry satisfies the imagination through strategic omission, surprising order, precise or unexpected word choices and deep subtext. We read what’s implied or implicit in a poem as intensely as we read the actual lines themselves, gleaning more of what is being said by noticing the unsaid: tone of voice, rhetorical style, which topic is avoided or which word repeated; in other words, we read between the lines. We also read between the lines to build emotional subtext and narrative by connecting far-flung images, words and phrases, line to line; by sifting, adding, combining and synthesizing the visible and invisible parts of each line as we read.

This workshop poses the questions: How does the poem achieve its effects? How does the poet control these effects so as to collaborate with the intuition of the reader? How do we, as readers, construct meaning in poems without all the information? And, most importantly, how can we bring these techniques to bear when revising our own poems?”

Participants will bring a draft or a poem in process.


Joan Houlihan is the author of six books of poetry, including the forthcoming It Isn’t a Ghost If it Lives in Your Chest (Four Way Books, Fall, 2021). Her other books are: Shadow-feast, (Four Way Books, 2018), Ay (Tupelo Press, 2014), The Us, (Tupelo Press, 2009), The Mending Worm, winner of the 2006 Green Rose Award from New Issues Press and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays. She is currently on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is part-time Professor of Practice at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.

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