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The Writing Life

Writing Life Poetry Workshop: Being in Conversation with a Work of Art with Diane Mehta

Tuesday, April 2, 2024 - 2:00 PM | Whitridge Room | for members and guests | free of charge | registration required

How do you share your connection to an artwork, and give words to the seemingly irrepressible so that others will feel, see, and sense what you feel so deeply about? We’ll explore the enthusiasms and emotions that accompany our favorite art by reading poems of experiences with art. Ekphrastic poetry, they call it—poems about art written with such vividness that you feel the psychological and imaginative point of view of the subject, the artist, and the viewer with palpable feeling. The key to writing a compelling poem that only you can generate is having a conversation with the work and figuring out why it feels meaningful to you, which means having a conversation with yourself—and your desires, fears, convictions, longings, and daydreams. Do you want to live inside the artwork? Argue with it? Take it home with you? Take it into your dreams? Yell at or become the artist? We’ll talk about looking, listening, writing, and listening again.

This workshop is limited to 25 people.

Diane Mehta was born in Frankfurt, grew up in Bombay and New Jersey, studied in Boston, and now makes her home in New York City. She is the author of two collections of poetry: Tiny Extravaganzas (Arrowsmith Press, 2023) and Forest with Castanets (Four Way Books, 2019). Her essay collection Happier Far comes out in 2025. New and recent work is in the New Yorker, Virginia Quarterly Review, Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, and A Public Space. Her writing has been recognized by the Peter Heinegg Literary Award, the Café Royal Cultural Foundation, and fellowships at Civitella Ranieri, Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She was an editor at A Public Space, PEN America, and Guernica. Her latest project is a poetry cycle connected to The Divine Comedy. She is also collaborating with musicians to invent a new way of working through sound together. Photograph by David Yellen

The Writing Life events in 2024 are generously underwritten by Jenny Lawrence.