Forms and Frames focuses on artificial forms as a means of expression, subversion, and creative generation. Participants will discuss and practice a small selection of artificial forms from a diverse range of traditions, including the Pantoum, the Haibun, and the Pas-de-Deux.

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Time: eight Thursdays, 20:00 to 22:00

Duration: 17 March - 5 May, 2022

Location: QWF Office—Westmount, QCView map

Description

Open to all.

Limited to 12 participants.

What’s the difference between poetry and prose? One big difference is form—the shapes and sounds a poem makes using line breaks, rhyme, alliteration, and a whole host of other devices. But while it’s a defining component of poetry, form can seem complex and intimidating. Even the most experienced poets may still struggle to distinguish a Pantoum from a Villanelle or accurately parse the metre of a poem.

Thankfully, a complete mastery of form is not necessary to enjoy—or write!—poetry. A basic understanding of form, however, can give the poet a whole new set of tools with which to make their meaning clear.

For many poets, the artificial and sometimes arbitrary rules of formal poetry signal a loss of choice. This workshop aims to show that, on the contrary, the adoption of a form reveals several private decisions around values, preferences, and intent. The “rules” of a form can be followed faithfully, but they can also be rejected, subverted, or broken completely. Those decisions are matter of personal expression, not unlike subject or image, and allow the poet another layer of individuality and disclosure.

Forms and Frames focuses on artificial forms as a means of expression, subversion, and creative generation. Participants will discuss and practice a small selection of artificial forms from a diverse range of traditions, including the Pantoum, the Haibun, and the Pas-de-Deux. These forms have been chosen specifically because they have (in the Anglo-Canadian context, at least) no set metre. While some small discussion of metre may be necessary during the course of the workshop, no prior knowledge of, or experience with, forms or metres is necessary! Through discussion of these and other artificial forms, guided exercises, free-writing, and voluntary critique, participants of all experience and skill-levels will discover how to make the frame work for them.

Important Note: At this time, our intention is to hold this workshop at the QWF office, with two virtual slots available for QWF members residing outside Montreal but within Quebec. The Atwater Library, which houses the QWF office, requires all visitors to be fully vaccinated and masked at all times. If you live outside Montreal but within Quebec and would like to attend virtually, please write to us first at workshops@qwf.org. Plans can change based on the latest public health guidelines. Please note our virtual slots are currently limited as we are still piloting our new teleconferencing equipment for workshops, and we hope to offer more virtual slots in the fall.

Workshop leader

Credit: Lisa Banks

Patrick O'Reilly is a writer from Renews, NL, now living in Montreal. A former poetry editor of The Antigonish Review, his poetry and criticism has appeared in Numéro Cinq, untethered, Maisonneuve and others, as well as In/Words Press's 30 under 30 anthology. Patrick's first chapbook, A Collapsible Newfoundland, was released by Frog Hollow Press in 2020.

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