Queer American Sonnets
3 Wednesdays, November 29, December 6, December 13, 2023
7 – 9 PM EST all dates (three 2 hr sessions)
In American hands, the sonnet is a radically flexible verse form, ranging from traditional Shakespearean and Petrarchan versions to an array of nonce, variant, and free verse poems. Americans have invested in an ongoing reckoning with the sonnet, with its forebears and European roots, and questions of our right to belong to the tradition. Some of the most interesting modern sonnets stretch the formal constraints as a way of negotiating questions of race, ethnicity, class, and diaspora—but also, perhaps especially, as a way of examining gender and sexuality. In this workshop, participants will look at the enduring lure of the sonnet—examining the history of the sonnet as a love poem, learning to recognize the various types of sonnets, and writing sonnets of their own.
Kim Roberts is a queer Jewish poet and literary historian living in Washington, DC. She is the author of six books of poems, most recently Corona/Crown, a cross-disciplinary collaboration with photographer Robert Revere (WordTech Editions, 2023), which features a 14-part prose poem modeled after a traditional sonnet crown. Roberts edited By Broad Potomac’s Shore: Great Poems from the Early Days of our Nation’s Capital (University of Virginia Press, 2020), selected by the East Coast Centers for the Book and DC Public Library to represent Washington, DC in the Route 1 Reads program. She is the author of the popular guidebook, A Literary Guide to Washington, DC: Walking in the Footsteps of American Writers from Francis Scott Key to Zora Neale Hurston (University of Virginia Press, 2018). Roberts has been the recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the DC Commission on the Arts, an Individual Practitioner Fellowship from Humanities DC, and was a 2023 Pride Writer-in-Residence at the Arts Club of Washington. http://www.kimroberts.org