How do we make sense out of the past, and how does it inform who we have become? In this course, we will give form to our memories through writing. Using poetry as our medium, we will explore ways to take agency over our stories, claim our memories for ourselves, and be vulnerable on the page. Each week, we will read and write poems that consider the layers of the self, such as the history of our names, our origin stories, and familial inheritances. We will discuss how poets use various craft tools to wrestle with memory and the stories that make us. We will then use these approaches as models for writing our own poems. Potential works to be discussed include poems by Aimee Nezhukumatahil, Joseph Legaspi, Rita Dove, Terrance Hayes, Chen Chen, and more.
This class is open to writers at any stage. While the primary purpose of this course is generative, we will have two classes dedicated to workshop for students who are interested in receiving feedback. Submitting poems to workshop is entirely optional; however, everyone is expected to participate in providing feedback. Students will have the opportunity to have at least one poem workshopped, possibly more, depending on how many opt-in.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Strengthen your craft analysis muscles through class discussion
- Generate as much new work as possible
- Build community with fellow writers, share work, and receive feedback
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
- Complete readings (approximately 1 hour per week outside of class) and actively participate in class discussion
- Engage with writing prompts to craft new work during class with additional optional prompts to be completed as homework
- Optional: submit poem(s) for workshop to receive feedback
- Provide feedback to writers who submit poems for workshop
- Be open, take risks!
Week 1: Introductions / Our Names
Week 2: Family
Week 3: Self-Portrait
Week 4: Workshop
Week 5: Questions
Week 6: Origin Stories
Week 7: Speculative Futures
Week 8: Workshop / Conclusions
Tiana Nobile is the author of Cleave (Hub City Press, 2021). She is a Korean American adoptee, Kundiman fellow, and recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. A finalist of the National Poetry Series and Kundiman Poetry Prize, her writing has appeared in Poetry Northwest, The New Republic, Guernica, and the Texas Review, among others. She lives in New Orleans, Louisiana. For more, visit www.tiananobile.com
“Tiana Nobile has created that rare gift: a collection of poems that not only springs from experiential knowledge but also offers insight on and says something new about the America in which we’re currently living. CLEAVE is a stunning debut that will help us, “carry ourselves into the realms of light,” which we find ourselves searching for as we navigate our lives in the most challenging of times. Between the vulnerability in these poems and the music of their lines, Nobile proves a master at using her history and ours to make a better world for today. And love in every form—that which we cling to, and that which we separate from—resonates throughout.”
“In Tiana Nobile's wonderful CLEAVE, the condition of the Korean-American adoptee is that of a wandering orbitless moon. The speaker fills the absence of her birth mother with aching questions of home, motherhood, and selfhood. Using the scant documentation she has with her deeply felt imagination, Nobile obsessively revisits the mystery of her birth until she creates her own mythic origin story that is beautiful, melancholic and powerful. Tiana Nobile is a bright new talent.”
“CLEAVE is not only the story of a transnational adoption. Because of Tiana Nobile’s compassionate imagination and lucid discernment, CLEAVE becomes the story of all our lost selves, of the mothers we long for and the languages we struggle to speak. Writing with what Audre Lorde calls the ‘intimacy of scrutiny,’ Nobile uncovers in the mysteries of her origins our most difficult truths, observing ‘How we feed on each other for ourselves. / How we keep ourselves alive through each other.’ This is an accomplished debut by a powerfully precise poet.”