When we think of poetry that focuses on nature as a vehicle for speaker-reader connection, we often picture transcendentalist works—think Whitman, Emerson, and Thoreau. Although these works are meticulous in their ability to express the delicacy of nature, some people may feel a level of disconnection to these poets in a 21st century context. To mirror such writers is not easy for every poet for a multitude of reasons, such as a lack of accessibility to water or greenery, which may result in poets avoiding nature imagery (or using it minimally). This workshop is where you will practice using nature-related sensory details in any setting, wherever you may be. For example, rather than an exercise that asks you to describe a blade of grass using only sensory details (touch, taste, smell, hear, see), the prompt will ask you to describe anything in your outside works, whether that be bricks stacked on the side of your apartment in the city or the tomatoes growing in your garden in the suburb. The emphasis of this workshop is inclusivity—all can enjoy the fragility (or perhaps intense) aspects of nature images in their poetry.

This workshop is for all writers who wish to use nature imagery more or in a new way. Although poetry will be the writing sector of emphasis, writers are welcome to come to the workshop with flash fiction, creative nonfiction, short stories, or hybrid pieces. Additionally, this workshop is virtually for anyone, but especially college students and young adult writers.

Not only are workshops an excellent place to network, but they are a safe space to really hone in on your writing. Creating a comfortable, vulnerable space to write is imperative, which this workshop will certainly do. It will also allow participants to view nature imagery in their own writing differently—perhaps applying it more often or in new ways. Lastly, I hope that participants will gain a better understanding of how the natural world varies for each individual, which is the ultimate beauty of writing about it.

Any time to write attributes to your overall repertoire of writings. As mentioned before, a space for writers to gather collectively is always inspiring. Since some writers may struggle to write without inspiration, this workshop may help poets crank out some fresh pieces, or even a series of pieces.

Key Takeaways:

  • Specificity: The exercises will emphasize specifics to create the best possible nature image for your poem.
  • Precision: The workshop will simultaneously highlight the importance of using precise language in your images to cultivate the tone you’re aiming for.
  • New perspectives: The workshop will show you how nature, and using it in your poetry, is limitless and looks different for everybody.

Meet Your Instructor

Sarah (she/her) is a queer poet and English grad student from PA. She loves using nature imagery in her poetry and finds it both freeing as well as a reimagination of the world around her. Her images oftentimes contradict themselves, offering insight into the reality of physical and human nature. Her writing has been published in many places: Anodyne Magazine, The Rumen, Red Noise Collective, The Ekphrastic Review, and others.