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March 28, 2020

with Friday night and Sunday morning options

Embassy Suites

460 N Cherry Street

Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Poetry Master Classes, Intensives, Seminars, Critique Sessions, and Sunday Morning Seminar

Design Your Day by choosing from our 75-minute seminars, master classes, intensives, critique sessions, and the Sunday Morning Seminar with Tom Lombardo (just scroll down)

Download our “Design Your Day” worksheet

Three-Hour Master Class Options

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Master Class: "The Secret to Free Verse Is That It Isn't Free at All" with Clint McCown
100.00

9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Limited to 9 poets

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Master Class Description
For many generations, poetry was bound up in a variety of literary forms—from sonnets to villanelles to limericks—all of which were bound by strict rules of rhyme and meter. In this class we'll look at how and why the revolution we call Free Verse came to dominate the contemporary landscape. We'll also discuss its tendency to be misunderstood by many who would follow the Free Verse path, and why the "rules" of true Free Verse are every bit as restrictive as any other approach to writing poetry.

Clint McCown has published six volumes of poems, including Total Balance Farm and The Dictionary of Unspellable Noises: New & Selected Poems, 1975-2018, both from Press 53. He has published four novels and is founding editor of the Beloit Fiction Journal. He teaches in the MFA program at Virginia Commonwealth University and in the low-residency MFA program at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.

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Master Class: "Where Poetry Begins: The Art of the First Line" with Anders Carlson-Wee
100.00

2 - 5 PM

Limited to 9 poets

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Master Class Description
The first line of any poem is the handshake with your reader. How do you grab their attention? Establish a tone? Keep them on their feet—or intentionally throw them off balance? In this class we’ll hone the art of crafting effective opening lines by studying a selection of first lines by published poets. Through dissecting these first lines in isolation, we’ll unpack how craft choices influence the reader’s expectations as they read forward. Then we’ll practice crafting our own first lines through guided writing exercises.

Anders Carlson-Wee is the author of The Low Passions (W.W. Norton, 2019). His work has appeared in The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, Poetry Daily, The Sun, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and many other places. He has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the McKnight Foundation, the Camargo Foundation, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference. In 2017, he received the Poetry International Prize. His work has been translated into Chinese. Anders holds an MFA from Vanderbilt University and lives in Minneapolis. www.anderscarlsonwee.com

Three-Hour Poetry Intensives

Join a member of our esteemed faculty for a small group poetry intensive, merging seminar and workshop for a graduate school-type experience. Limited to four seats, participants will exchange three poems or no more than 3 pages of poetry ahead of the 2020 High Road Festival. The three-hour session will be loosely divided into faculty-led seminar on a topic of their choosing, and a group workshop/critique. The seminar is not to exceed one hour, leaving a minimum of thirty minutes of focused workshop feedback per poet.

Poetry Intensive: 2 - 5 p.m.

Poetry Intensive: 2 - 5 p.m.

Poetry Intensive: "Creating Memorable Descriptions" with Barbara Presnell
125.00

2 - 5 PM

Limited to 4 poets

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Poetry Intensive Description
Creating vivid, three-dimensional places, people, events, and moments in poetry is not magic. It’s skill. It’s knowing when and how to strengthen nouns and verbs, develop multiple sense impressions, and employ imagery. It’s also knowing when not to include too much. We’ll take a close look at choices for creating memorable description, and we’ll examine poems by masters who have succeeded in making their words live and breathe on the page.

Barbara Presnell is the author of five collections of poetry, including Blue Star and Piece Work, which won the Cleveland State University Poetry Center First Book Prize and was adapted for stage by the Touring Theatre of North Carolina. She has been awarded fellowships from the North Carolina Arts Council, the Kentucky Arts Council, and the Kentucky Foundation for Women. A native of Asheboro, North Carolina, she teaches at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and lives in Lexington, North Carolina. 

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Poetry Intensive: "Managing the Current" with Jim Peterson
125.00

9:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Limited to 4 poets

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Poetry Intensive Description
The poem is a fuse that conducts current across the gap between poet and reader. The poem completes a circuit, makes a connection. The quality of that fuse—the materials used, the arrangement of its elements—determines the quality of the connection. The poet must learn how to build a quality fuse, how to manage the current. In this session, we will examine sample poems to which we will apply this theory. Then we will workshop your poems in the light of what we have learned.

Jim Peterson’s poetry collections include The Man Who Grew Silent, An Afternoon with K, The Owning Stone, The Bob and Weave, Original Face, and Speech Minus Applause. His poems have won the Benjamin Saltman Award from Red Hen Press, an Academy of American Poets Award, and a Fellowship in Poetry from the Virginia Arts Commission. He is on the faculty of the University of Nebraska-Omaha Low-Res MFA Program in Creative Writing and is professor emeritus at Randolph College in Lynchburg, Virginia.

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Poetry Intensive with Tom Lombardo
125.00

9:30 AM - 12: 30 PM

2 - 5 PM

Limited to 4 poets in each session

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Poetry Intensive Description
This session will be loosely divided into brief seminar focused on the attendees submissions, and a group workshop/critique. This group is open to all topics and forms.

Tom Lombardo is editor of Tom Lombardo Poetry Selections, a Press 53 imprint. His mission is to select four poetry collections for Press 53 each year. He has published two collections of his own poetry: What Bends Us Blue (WordTech, 2013) and The Name of This Game (Kattywompus Press, 2014). In 2008, he edited After Shocks: The Poetry of Recovery for Life-Shattering Events (Press 53), which features 152 poems by 115 poets from 15 nations.

75-Minute Poetry Seminars

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Seminar: "Where a Thought Might Grow" with Adrian Rice
30.00

11:15AM - 12:30PM

2 - 3:15 PM

Limited to 20 poets in each session

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Seminar Description
It would be hard to imagine anyone pointing you to a poem for hope and inspiration with a more unpromising title than Irish poet Derek Mahon’s, “A Disused Shed in Co. Wexford.” But that is what this talk/workshop will do. Join Belfast poet Adrian Rice as he leads you through Mahon’s masterpiece, which begins with one of the most hopeful opening lines imaginable: “Even now there are places where a thought might grow . . .” This workshop will lead participants into places where their own thoughts might grow, encouraging them to search for poetic diamonds in the rough of their own lived experiences.

Adrian Rice was born just north of Belfast, in County Antrim. He graduated from the University of Ulster with a BA in English & Politics, and MPhil in Anglo-Irish Literature. He has delivered writing workshops, readings, and lectures throughout the UK & Ireland, and the U.S. He is the author of numerous poetry collections, including The Mason’s Tongue, which was shortlisted for the Christopher Ewart-Biggs Memorial Literary Prize and nominated for the Irish Times Prize for Poetry, and three books of poetry from Press 53 including The Strange Estate: New & Selected Poems, 1986–2017.

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Seminar: "Who Says Tension Is a Bad Thing?" with Cathy Smith Bowers
30.00

9:30-10:45 AM

2-3:15 PM

Limited to 20 poets in each session

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Seminar Description
One element crucial to any of the arts is the element of tension. I define tension in two ways: the pulling against each other of opposites, and the upsetting of the reader’s expectations. During this seminar we will explore the element of tension in the poems of several highly respected poets. We will also discuss ways we can create or enhance the tension in all four aspects—feeling, story, language, and line—of our own poems. 

Cathy Smith Bowers served as North Carolina Poet Laureate from 2010 till 2012. She was educated at the University of South Carolina-Lancaster, Winthrop University, the University of Oxford, and the Haden Institute. Press 53 published Like Shining from Shook Foil, selected poems from her four previously published volumes and then brought together all four volumes in The Collected Poems of Cathy Smith Bowers. She served for many years as poet-in-residence at Queens University of Charlotte, and now teaches in the Queens low-residency MFA program and at Wofford College. 

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Seminar: "Research as Poetry, Poetry as Research" with Jacinta V. White
30.00

9:30-10:45AM

Limited to 20 poets

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Seminar Description
Join Jacinta V. White in a discussion on how research is used in poetry and how poetry can be seen as research. Looking at works from both poets and researchers, this generative workshop will 1) question if there is a place for research in poetry, 2) examine poetic tools that lend themselves to research and vice versa, and 3) provide time for you to think of how to incorporate research in your own writing.

Jacinta V. White is a North Carolina teaching artist, poet, and certified corporate trainer and facilitator. In 2001, she founded The Word Project where she works with individuals and groups using art as a catalyst for healing. In 2015, she founded Snapdragon: A Journal of Art & Healing to provide a platform for those to tell their story through poetry, creative nonfiction, and photography. Jacinta is widely published and the recipient of several awards, including the first Press 53 Open Award in Poetry in 2008, and the Duke Energy Regional Artist Grant from the Arts Council of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County. Her first book-length collection of poems, Resurrecting the Bones: Born from a Journey through African American Churches and Cemeteries in the Rural South was published by Press 53 in 2019.

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Seminar: "Blueprints for Poetry" with Mark Cox
30.00

11:15 AM - 12:30 PM

Limited to 20 poets

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Seminar Description
A series of exercises designed to help us perceive poems as complex architectures, both beautiful and utilitarian, that reflect our relationships to experience. We will go through one of my revisions. Bring writing materials and poem drafts you have yet to complete.

Mark Cox teaches in the Vermont College MFA Program and in the Department of Creative Writing at UNC-Wilmington, where he served as founding chair. His honors include a Whiting Writers' Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, and The Society of Midland Authors Poetry Prize. He has a 30-plus-year history of publication in prominent magazines and he has received numerous fellowships, including a 2017 award from the North Carolina Arts Council. His most recent books are Readiness: Prose Poems (Press 53) and Sorrow Bread: Poems 1984-2015 (2017).

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Seminar: "Trauma Narratives" with Stacy R. Nigliazzo
30.00

3:45 - 5 PM

Limited to 20 poets

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Seminar Description
What is left in the wake of violence and grief? How does one give voice to the unspeakable? In this workshop we will consider trauma and recovery through themes of acknowledgment, witnessing, and remembrance. The work of established poets will be presented and time will be devoted to personal reflection and the creation of new work.

Stacy R. Nigliazzo is the author of Sky the Oar (Press 53). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including the American Journal of Nursing, Bellevue Literary Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Ilanot Review, the Journal of the American Medical Association, and Thrush Poetry Journal. Her first collection of poems, Scissored Moon, won the 2014 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Award. She lives in Houston, Texas, and has worked as an emergency room nurse for the past twelve years.

Seminar: 3:45 - 5 p.m.

Seminar: 3:45 - 5 p.m.

Seminar: "Against Meaning in Poetry" with Timothy O’Keefe
30.00

3:45 - 5 PM

Limited to 20 poets

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Seminar Description
For many people, learning to read poetry is tantamount to becoming a word detective—one is taught to look for signs and clues in order to arrive at the “deep meaning” of the poem. Or, worse yet, to learn "what the poet was really trying to say.” This seminar will explore poetic approaches to the doing of a poem—the poem as an event on the page—instead of focusing on the traditional markers of meaning (symbol, metaphor, allusion, etc.). The goal is not to dispense with meaning altogether, but to reposition it as just one of many experiences the poem can present to an attentive reader. 

Timothy O’Keefe is the author of You Are the Phenomenology, winner of the 2017 Juniper Prize for Poetry, and The Goodbye Town, winner of the 2010 FIELD Poetry Prize. His poems and lyric essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, The Best American Essays, Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Massachusetts Review, Seneca Review, VOLT, and elsewhere. He teaches writing and literature at High Point University.

One-on-One Poetry Critique Sessions

Receive valuable feedback and advice from a pro

Choose from two options:

Up to three pages of poetry for 25 minutes—$50

Manuscript of up to 60 pages of poetry for 1.5 hours—$250

Note: the manuscript critique will not be a line-by-line edit or critique, but an overview of the collection with advice and comments on what works or doesn’t work and what your adviser believes could make the manuscript stronger.

Our Poetry Critique Session Faculty

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Valerie Nieman is the author of three poetry collections including Leopard Lady: A Life in Verse. She has held creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the North Carolina Arts Council. Her fourth novel, To the Bones, was published in spring 2019 by West Virginia University Press. A graduate of West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte, she teaches writing at North Carolina A&T State University and at other venues including John C. Campbell Folk School.

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Terry L. Kennedy is the author of the poetry collection New River Breakdown. His work appears in a variety of literary journals and magazines as well as Thrush Poetry Journal: An Anthology of the First Two Years, Southern Poetry Anthology, VII: North Carolina, and Hard Lines: Rough South Poetry. He currently serves as Director of the MFA Writing Program and Editor of The Greensboro Review.

25-Minute Poetry Critique Session with Valerie Nieman
50.00
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25-Minute Poetry Critique Session with Terry L. Kennedy
50.00
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Sunday Morning Seminar with Tom Lombardo

Wrap up your weekend with a fun and lively discussion with Tom Lombardo and other High Road attendees on Sunday morning from 10 a.m. till noon. Tom will announce his topic later, but it is sure to please and inform everyone.

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Sunday Morning Seminar with Tom Lombardo
10.00

10AM-12PM

Same location as the Saturday seminars

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