Winter Craft Intensive: Noor Naga


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Editor's Note

The Freedom in Constraints with Noor Naga
Saturday, December 17
8 – 11 AM PST / 11 AM – 2 PM EST

Total freedom of expression can be intimidating. When faced with the open field of a page, where do you begin? This intensive will explore the potential of formal constraints to be generative and liberating. We’ll close-read a few poems by A. E. Stallings, Kaveh Akbar, Gertrude Stein, and Tracy K. Smith that experiment with anagrams, erasures, golden shovels and more. We’ll also do some exercises to feel out the different possibilities for surprise that using formal constraints can bring. Ultimately, the workshop’s aim is to give writers tools to reimagine the act of creation as one of curiosity and problem-solving. While we’ll be focusing on poetry, this workshop will be useful for anyone who struggles with writer’s block or beginnings.

BIO: Noor Naga is an Alexandrian writer who was born in Philadelphia, raised in Dubai, studied in Toronto, and now lives in Cairo. Her verse-novel Washes, Prays, which won the Pat Lowther Memorial Award and an Arab American Book Award, was published by McClelland & Stewart in 2020. Her debut novel If an Egyptian Cannot Speak English won the Graywolf Press Africa Prize and was published in April 2022 from Graywolf Press. She teaches at the American University in Cairo.