International Women's Writing Guild
Excavating Through Persona
(Heroes and Monsters)
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Persona is a poetic device that allows us to access hidden parts of ourselves, as well as to get out of/beyond ourselves. Writing in/through persona can give us permission to be more, or other than, the expectations (and/or limits) we are accustomed to constructing our identities to fit. In this workshop, we will read and discuss exemplary persona poems, and explore our personal and interior heroes and monsters through visualization, embodiment, and writing-in-persona to discover what they have to teach us.
Originally from Bali, Indonesia, Cynthia Dewi Oka is the author of four books of poems, most recently A Tinderbox in Three Acts (BOA Editions, 2022) and Fire Is Not a Country (Northwestern University Press, 2021). A recipient of the Amy Clampitt Residency, Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize, and the Leeway Transformation Award, her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Oprah Daily, POETRY, Academy of American Poets, Poetry Society of America, Hyperallergic, Guernica, Andscape, and elsewhere. Her experimental poem, Future Revisions, was exhibited at the Rail Park billboard in Philadelphia in summer 2021. An alumnus of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she has taught creative writing at Bryn Mawr College, New Mexico State University, Blue Stoop, and Voices of Our Nations (VONA). She has been a featured poet in many literary, arts, and academic spaces in the US and beyond, including the Festival Internacional de Poesia de la Habana and the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival. For fifteen years, Cynthia worked as an organizer, trainer, and fundraiser in social movements for justice that center the experiences of the global majority. She lives in Los Angeles.
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The International Women’s Writing Guild
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