Gimme the Loot!: How to Steal Like a Poet
“Good poets borrow, great poets steal.” —T.S. Eliot
“What we call originality is just a new amalgam of old influences.” —Marvin Bell
In this workshop, we will explore strategies by which poets may enrich their own art by deliberately imitating their favorites… and their favorites’ favorites! We will discuss such topics as voice, influence, and originality, as well as the imperative of serving a serious apprenticeship. One final, and imperative, consideration, are the possibilities of and strategies by which apprentice poets may attempt to wipe away traces of influence. That is, to cover their tracks! Participants should bring to the workshop some favorite works by other writers.
John Murillo is the author of the poetry collections, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way Books 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way 2020). His honors include two Larry Neal Writers Awards, a pair of Pushcart Prizes, the J Howard and Barbara MJ Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, an NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Recent poems have appeared in such publications as American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2017, 2019, and 2020. He is an assistant professor of English and director of the creative writing program at Wesleyan University and also teaches in the low residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada University.