Writing Is How We Speak with the Dead: A Workshop in Dialogue with Grief
Writing is a way of speaking with the dead, a way of continuing a conversation across time and space and corporeality. And those of us who write know this. Eugenia Ginzburg wrote Alexander Blok into a poem to keep her company during solitary confinement in Stalin’s gulag. As a poem, Blok managed to evade the guards’ detection, traveling into the prison cell on the ray of a memory.“Poetry, at least, they could not take away from me!” Evgenia wrote in her diary.
And really, what could be more unbelievable than death? Is there anything else that haunts us more than the knowledge of an ending? In the death of a loved one, we meet our own death’s possibility; we crawl around it and try to get closer to pay our respects. But the line between respect and terror is so slight when we’re looking down from the edge. In this two day workshop, we’ll explore different ways of writing grief across genres. We’ll read poetry, fiction, and memoir that brings death into the room, not as a demon but as a part of life. And we will keep company with lyrical forms, bending the lyre to carry the song we need from it.