John Surowiecki

Workshop Description: I-less in Gaza

Are your poems I-bound? Are they rigidly defined by personal experience? Are they relentlessly autobiographical? Well, maybe a poem shouldn't be limited by what you know and what you've done. Maybe it ought to, as Wallace Stevens noted half a century ago, be something else, something in and of itself, something that somehow fuses experience and imagination. Scientists and poets both interpret the world. The difference is the poet can falsify data and invent things the world has never seen before — and have fun in the process.  So let’s denounce the tyrannyof the I. Let's acknowledge the unreal. Let’s allow our imaginations to take the wheel for a while.

Biographical Note:  In Flies (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2012), John Surowiecki’s fourth poetry collection, flies do all the talking. Eight generations of them are the narrators of these unusual often funny poems. But underneath the jokes and puns and goofing around, there is a serious theme: the loneliness of old age. 

John’s other three books are Barney and Gienka (CW Books, 2010), The Hat City after Men Stopped Wearing Hats (Washington Prize, Word Works, 2007) and Watching Cartoons before Attending a Funeral (White Pine Prize, White Pine Press, 2003).

He is also the author of six chapbooks. In addition, John’s work has appeared in a number of anthologies, most recently Sunken Garden Poetry Festival Twentieth Anniversary Anthology (Wesleyan University Press, 2012) and the Hecht Prize Anthology (Waywiser Press, 2012). 

John has won the Poetry Foundation Pegasus Award for verse drama, the Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize, and an arts fellowship from the State of Connecticut. Publications include: Alaska Quarterly Review, Folio,  Margie, Oyez Review, Mississippi Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Redivider,West Branch and The Southern Review.


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