Master Class with Nicky Beer


April 7 and April 14
7:30 ET / 6:30 CT / 5:30 MT / 4:30 PT
Each session is scheduled for an hour and a half.

How can we get ourselves out of writerly ruts? How can we build a writing practice that regularly engages with risk? How can we productively welcome uncertainty and discomfort into our art-making? One possible solution: getting weird. Getting weird is less about gimmicks or provocation, and more about understanding what we find safe and comfortable as individual writers, and how we can push ourselves to explore beyond this familiar territory. How can we see awkwardness, embarrassment, and doubt about what we write as signals that we’re headed in the right direction?

In our first class, I’ll talk about work by poets and other artists that effectively engage with weirdness, including Franny Choi, Yalie Saweda Kamara, Catherine Pierce, Sandra Beasley, and Yoko Ono. And in both guided and take-away prompts, we’ll explore different potential sources of weirdness, and consider how these can be harnessed to make new discoveries in our poems. In our second class, we’ll share some of the results of our flirtations with the weird, and discuss how we can build upon these experiments in the future.

This event is free, though donations are appreciated. Donations as small as $10 help support the conference and scholarships. Please follow the link to donate to our General Fund: Donation Link.

Please use this link to register: Registration Link

Nicky Beer is a bi/queer writer, and the author of The Octopus Game (Carnegie Mellon, 2015) and The Diminishing House (Carnegie Mellon, 2010), both winners of the Colorado Book Award for Poetry. Her awards include a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation, a MacDowell Fellowship, a fellowship and a scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, a Mary Wood Fellowship from Washington College, a Discovery/The Nation Award, and a Campbell Corner Prize. Her poems have been published in Best American Poetry, Poetry, The Nation, The New Yorker, The Southern Review, Kenyon Review, and elsewhere. She is an associate professor at the University of Colorado Denver, where she is a poetry editor for the journal Copper Nickel.

Her third book of poems, Real Phonies and Genuine Fakes, was published by Milkweed Editions March 2022.