The Personal is Political: A Workshop with Sandra Simonds

The inaugural Reading Queer Festival presents, in collaboration with O, Miami, a writing workshop with poet Sandra Simonds titled, "The Personal Is Political."

To sign up, visit the Evenbrite page.

Here is Simonds' description of the workshop:

How is queer poetry a mode of political protest? How can it destroy the systems of oppression that we are all subjected to on a daily basis? Taking our own understandings of gender/ sexuality/ desire as a point of departure, in this workshop we will think about how our own personal narratives can be told in poetry as a mode of protest and solidarity, forming communities upon—but also beyond—our experiences of oppression. 

In the first hour, we will explore these issues by reading the poetry of Amy King, Stephen Mills, Eileen Myles, Valarie Wetlaufer and others. In the second hour, we will generate one poem through an experimental writing exercise that focuses on blending the personal and the political.

We will not write a “persona” poem in this workshop. I want you to be yourself in your poem. You don’t have to be anyone but yourself. Your story is completely worthy of a poem!

Sandra Simonds grew up in Los Angeles, California and earned a B.A. in Psychology and Creative Writing at U.C.L.A and an M.F.A. from the University of Montana, where she received a poetry fellowship. In 2010, Simonds received a PhD in Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Florida State University. She is the author of four full-length collections of poetry: The Glass Box (Saturnalia Books, 2015), The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014), Mother was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012) and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009) which was a finalist for numerous prizes including the National Poetry Series.   She is also the author of several chapbooks including Used White Wife (Grey Book Press, 2009) and The Humble Travelogues of Mr. Ian Worthington, Written from Land & Sea (Cy Gist, 2006). Simonds’ poems have been published in many journals such as Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Believer, the Colorado Review, Fence, the Columbia Poetry ReviewBarrow StreetVolt, the New Orleans Review and Lana Turner. Her Creative Nonfiction has been published in Post Roadand other literary journals. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is Assistant Professor of English at Thomas University in beautiful, rural Southern Georgia.

Reading Queer promotes queer literary culture in South Florida through an annual week-long literary festival, creative writing workshops led by nationally and locally recognized queer writers, a literary salon series and a literary archive. We are partially funded with a Miami Foundation-National Gay & Lesbian Task Force GLBT Community Grant and a Knight Arts Challenge Grant. The Knight Arts Challenge Grant is a Miami-based initiative to draw the best and most innovative ideas out of local organizations and individuals seeking to transform the community through the arts.