Spring Craft Intensive: Cass Donish


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Editor's Note

Talking to the Dead: Writing Grief and Loss with Cass Donish
Sunday, April 7th
10 AM  – 1 PM PST / 1 – 4 PM EST

How can writing deal with the contradictions and complexities of loss? How can we hold on and go on simultaneously? This generative course will plunge us into the literature of grief. We will explore how writers have grappled with the universal yet painfully specific and often isolating experience of loss. We will read and discuss various texts, examining how the grief process shapes craft choices, and how those choices, in turn, might inform (and even transform) the journey. In a moment of local and global violences, climate catastrophe, a pandemic with lasting effects, and an impending sense of various kinds of endings, grief and anticipatory grief are not only individual, but shared and pervasive. Can writing challenge our culture’s view on death through radical perspectives on love, time, and art? Texts may include excerpts of works by Victoria Chang, Mosab Abu Toha, K. Iver, Aracelis Girmay, Joan Didion, and Marie Howe. Borrowing inspiration from what we read, we’ll engage in generative writing exercises on loss: short pieces (poetry or prose), experiments, beginnings to take with you.

The scholarship for this intensive has already been awarded.

BIO: Cass Donish is the author of the poetry collections Your Dazzling Death (Knopf, 2024), The Year of the Femme (University of Iowa Press, 2019), and Beautyberry (Slope Editions, 2018). Their nonfiction chapbook, On the Mezzanine (Gold Line Press, 2019), was chosen by Maggie Nelson as winner of the Gold Line Press Chapbook Competition. Donish has writing appearing in American Poetry Review, Cincinnati Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Gettysburg Review, Guernica, Poem-a-Day, Tupelo Quarterly, VICE, and elsewhere. They have taught creative writing at Washington University in St. Louis, University of Missouri, Kenyon Review’s Young Writers Workshop, and Ashland University’s low-res MFA program. They live in Columbia, Missouri.