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Workshop: Warping the Canon: Poems of Formal Confinement & Escape

May 20 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT

This workshop is designed for all ages and will be led by Jazz Poetry Month performers Gaia Rajan and Rho Bloom-Wang. The workshop will focus on poems of formal confinement and escape, exploring the ways queer people and people of color negotiate their relationship to established forms by warping them into something of their own. They will discuss poems that use received forms in unique or destructive ways, including Diane Seuss’s sonnets, Torrin Greathouse’s burning haibuns, and Yanyi’s prose poems.

Gaia & Rho’s Suggested Reading:

  • Torrin Greathouse’s burning haibuns
  • Yanyi’s prose poems
  • Jericho Brown’s duplexes 
  • Diane Seuss and Terrance Hayes’ sonnets

About the Poets:

Gaia Rajan (she/they) is the author of the chapbooks Moth Funerals and Killing It. Her second short collection is an interrogation of queer Asian American identity, intergenerational trauma, and the detritus of American achievement. Her work is published or forthcoming in Best New Poets 2022, the 2022 Best of the Net anthology, The Kenyon Review, THRUSH, Split Lip Magazine, diode, and elsewhere. Gaia is an undergraduate at Carnegie Mellon University studying computer science and creative writing. You can find her at @gaiarajan on Twitter or Instagram.

Rho Bloom-Wang, the 2022-23 Youth Poet Laureate of Allegheny County, is a 16-year-old student, writer, and activist. As an editor for Starry False Lily and Plaid Magazine, they believe literary art is essential for both individual growth and interpersonal change. Devoted to issues of social and environmental justice, Rho has collaborated on projects that address issues of air quality, criminal justice, and gender-based inequities in athletics. They recently co-organized a national event highlighting transgender art, writing, and existence as a form of resistance to anti-trans legislation. Rho is a winner of the Oakland Sidewalk Poetry Contest and the recipient of a Gold Medal from the Alliance for Art and Writing. You can find their work in The Lumiere Review, Qommunity’s Revive, Saturday Light Brigade, and elsewhere. You may also find them immersed in mountains, books, and Mandarin.

About Your Visit: 

This workshop will take place in-person in the Word Cellar at City of Asylum.

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May 20
11:00 am - 1:00 pm EDT
Program Category:


City of Asylum
(412) 435-1110
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Alphabet City
40 W. North Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212 United States
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