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Poetry Workshop: The Empty Spaces with Willie Perdomo

Thursday, May 19 @ 10:00 am

On Demand (Virtual)

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Who or what is the voice on your shoulders telling you that you can’t write about (fill in the blank)? The approach to fresh language is usually accompanied by distancing yourself from what you think might be correct or “right.” Using the “separate language” of poetry, where do we begin filling the empty spaces?  In this workshop, we will approach generative as an associative act, and we will engage in a remix of a standard poem.

Award-winning poet and children’s book author Willie Perdomo is the author of The Crazy Bunch (Penguin Books, 2019), which The New Yorker called, “Oracular, intoxicating,” The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (Penguin Poets, 2014), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Milton Kessler Poetry Award; winner of the International Latino Book Award, and a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award nominee. He is also the author of Smoking Lovely, originally published by Rattapallax in 2004 and winner of the PEN/Beyond Margins Awards, which has been reissued by Haymarket Books in 2021; and Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (Norton, 1996), a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award. Perdomo is a Pushcart nominee, two-time New York Foundation for the Arts Poetry Fellow and a former Woolrich Fellow in Creative Writing at Columbia University. His work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, Bomb Magazine, and African Voices.

Perdomo’s children’s books include Clemente! (Henry Holt & Co., 2010), winner of the 2011 Amerícas Award for children’s and young adult literature; Visiting Langston (Henry Holt & Co., 2002), and Postcards of El Barrio (Isla Negra Editores, 2002).

Born and raised in New York City, the city, its people, and its rich, vibrant cultures deeply inform Perdomo’s work, as well the lineage of writers who’ve helped form his aesthetic vision. In an interview with Words without Borders, Perdomo was asked about iconic literary places in New York City that are meaningful to him: “Go to the corner where Claude Brown used to scrap & fisticuff daily; to the rooftop where Piri Thomas used to scream his poems to the world; to the bench where Julia De Burgos collapsed from heartbreak; to the neighborhood where Lorca saw a Puerto Rican woman so beautiful that he wrote his mother, convinced that they were the most beautiful in the world; where Jack Agueros wrote his sonnets; where Pedro Pietri ignited a revolution; where Henry Dumas was tragically shot; where Toni Cade Bambara told our usable truths; where Lou Reed waited for his connection; where Carlito Brigante weighed the angles; the bushes where Miguel Pinero slept; the subway line where Audre Lorde wrote her poems; the SEEK program where Adrienne Rich used to teach in the 1970s . . . “

Perdomo is currently a member of the VONA/Voices faculty and an English Instructor at Phillips Exeter Academy. He divides his time between New Hampshire and New York City.

Scholarships Available for MDC Students

Miami Book Fair is offering two (2) full-tuition scholarships for MDC students interested in attending a Miami Writers Institute creative writing workshop in any genre. Applicants must be currently-enrolled, (full time or part time) degree-seeking Miami Dade College students with a demonstrated financial need.

To Apply for a Scholarship:
Please send an email to Marci Cancio-Bello, Miami Book Fair programs coordinator at mcanciob@mdc.edu by Monday, May 9 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The message must include your contact information, the title of the workshop you’d like to take, a short statement of financial need, your MDC class schedule, and a writing sample. First-time writers who lack a writing sample should submit a statement explaining their interest in the workshop.


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