IWT’s annual conferences are inquiries into broad issues in teaching directly related to the teaching of writing. The day consists of three group workshops led by IWT faculty associates, with a plenary session that moves the inquiry along and is sometimes the subject of the second workshop of the day.

April 22, 2016 Conference: “The Difficulty with Poetry: Opacity and Implication in the New and Old”

A decade ago, Charles Bernstein wittily outlined the telltale “symptoms” of the difficult poem: “high syntactic, grammatical, or intellectual activity level; elevated linguistic intensity…[and a] negative mood.” In workshops that put contemporary poets—Ann Lauterbach, Claudia Rankine, Charles Bernstein, Anne Carson, and others—in conversation with those typically taught in high school curricula—Keats, Dickinson, Whitman, Williams—participants will explore how poets communicate ideas and complex emotions through word choice, rhythm, and formal structures. We will also examine poetry that crosses boundaries of literary collage, blog, graphic art, and podcast, and discover why contemporary poetry, while celebrating the new media, can purposely confound and frustrate readers as poets and readers play with what they find impossible to “tell” in any genre except poetry.

This year’s conference, “The Difficulty with Poetry: Opacity and Implication in the New and Old,” will highlight IWT’s writing-based teaching practices that help administrators and teachers experience the kinds of teaching that help students learn to work through whatever roadblocks he or she might encounter—to take intellectual risks—in the process of exploring “difficult” topics and disciplines.

An on-site reading and panel will feature poets from a special themed e-edition of Conjunctions, Bard College’s renowned literary magazine devoted to innovative writing.

Friday, April 22, 2016

8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Early Bird Registration Fee: $300
Regular Registration Fee from March 22 – April 15, 2016:

Registration ends April 15, 2016

Fees include morning coffee, lunch, and anthology of related readings

Cancellation Policy: No refunds can be given for cancellations made later than a week before the event.