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Reginald Gibbons

is the director of Northwestern University’s MFA program in creative writing and the author of ten collections of poetry, including Last Lake; the book of criticism How Poems Think (both University of Chicago); and the collection of short stories An Orchard in the Street (BOA). A new poetry collection is forthcoming from Four Way Books next year. With Ilya Kutik, he recently completed a translation of Boris Pasternak’s poems.


Master Class

Reginald Gibbons

Brooklyn, NY

Saturday, March 14, 2020

This class has already happened.

In his famous early poem, “Digging,” Seamus Heaney says that to write poems he’ll “dig,” as his farmer father did, but he’ll do it in the earth of life and language—with a pen. In such digging and planting and harvesting, where are the “seeds” or “roots” of the poem or story or essay? What’s underneath what we can see—in our limited way—of our own work-in-progress in its various stages? We all work with the earth and water that writing is made of—language, craft, memory, feeling, thought, experience, awareness, perceptiveness, and we work with many devices of language, structure, rhetoric and other resources of each genre. These are all interrelated: craft may seem external, a set of learned artistic tools, but “inner craft” too is a kind of “technique,” if we follow Heaney’s unusual use of that word; by this term, he meant what he called “a stance toward life.”

So this workshop is about how to help the work we’re writing find what it needs within us, and how to allow language to find things for the sake of the work. If we were to workshop some of your existing writing, we’d have only 10 minutes to talk about each one, which would be pointless, but please bring with you two poems of fewer than 20 lines each, or two very short pieces of fiction or creative nonfiction—preferably work that may be resisting your efforts, that is behaving somewhat stubbornly about what it wants and doesn’t want to do. We’re not going to distribute this work; it’s for yourself that you bring it. And bring also a notebook you’re currently using for occasional notes, jotting down overheard speech, catching hold of an image, a phrase, the title of a book you want to read, a sketch of a scene, a mini-plot, a train of thought that has come to you, quotations you’ve pulled out of what you read, poem and prose “ideas” for work you haven’t yet drafted, etc. Your notebook and work-in-progress will serve as your material for entering your new thinking about how and what you write. We’ll have a handout for thinking about “Inner Craft,” we’ll do some thinking together, and then try to use, right away, what we’ve pondered, to open up the work you’ve brought with you.

Course Schedule
Saturday, March 14
2:00 - 5:00 pm
1 session

Where are the Master Classes and workshops located?

Currently, all Master Classes and workshops are held online on Zoom.

I registered but did not receive a link. What do I do?

You will receive an email from A Public Space one week prior to the start date, with materials and a link to join the class. Please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you do not receive this email.

Can I receive a recording of a past or upcoming workshop or class?

No. The only way to attend a Master Class or workshop is live.

Is closed captioning available?

Yes. live notes are available for all Master Classes held on Zoom, and on a case-by-case basis for workshops. (If you are signed up for a workshop, please discuss closed captioning with your instructor.) To view the notes, look for the red LIVE dropdown menu in the top left of your Zoom screen and select View Stream on

Are scholarships available?

Scholarships are available for all Master Classes. Scholarships are not currently offered for workshops. To apply, please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with the subject “Master Class Scholarship Application” and include 1) a short statement outlining your interest in this class, and how a scholarship would benefit you as a writer or a reader; and 2) a short bio. Scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis.

The Master Class or workshop I want to join is sold out. Is there a waitlist?

Yes. Please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to be added to the waitlist for an upcoming Master Class or workshop.

I signed up for a class but can't make it. Can I be refunded?

Full refunds are offered if requested at least two weeks prior to the start date of the class. After that, before the start date, we are able to offer a 50% refund. We cannot refund day-of cancellations, and we cannot refund or partially refund tuition once the class has started. Please email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you need to cancel your registration.

But I signed up for a class after the cut-off point for a full refund had passed. Can I still be eligible for a full refund?

No. Please be aware of our cancellation policy upon registration.

I'd like to transfer my registration to someone else. Is this possible?

Yes. That is very generous of you! Please contact .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your enrollment in an Academy class, please let us know as soon as possible. We can only offer full refunds if you cancel two weeks prior to the start of class. After that, before the start date of class, we can offer a 50% refund. We cannot refund day-of cancellations, and we cannot refund or partially refund tuition once the class has begun.

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