Parents, Place, Presence, Poem, with Tim Tomlinson

Parents, Place, Presence, Poem, with Tim Tomlinson 

Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser talks about the poet’s presence in a poem: in the reader’s experience, how felt is the poem’s author? In Anne Sexton’s “Walking in Paris,” the poet’s presence is pronounced. In haiku, generally, the poet’s presence is verboten (at least explicitly). Basho’s famous frog haiku provides a good example, in this translation by Allen Ginsberg:

The old pond

A frog jumped in,


Imagine if Basho had written, or Ginsberg translated, as such:

The old pond

A frog jumped in,

My mother is insane.

Using a variety of samples, this workshop will explore a range of the poet’s presence in a poem, with this idea in mind: the poet is shaped significantly by parents, and by place. Our work will generate at least three new drafts of poems based on models that specifically engage parents and place (of origin). Working in a Buddhist temple in nearby Lovina will, I believe, facilitate a trajectory of “presence pronounced” to “presence erased.” Both presences and many others in between, are—to quote the third Beatle—within you and without you.


About Tim

Tim Tomlinson is co-founder of New York Writers Workshop, and co-author of its popular text, The Portable MFA in Creative Writing. His poetry ranges from “presence erased” in Yolanda: An Oral History in Verse, (Finishing Line Press, 2015), to “presence pronounced” in Requiem for the Tree Fort I Set on Fire (Winter Goose, 2016). His collection of short fiction, This Is Not Happening to You (Winter Goose, 2017), launches at this conference. Tim has run workshops in poetry and prose in Australia, China, Singapore, Thailand, and the Philippines. His work has been widely anthologized, most recently in We Contain Multitudes: Twelve Years of Softblow, the Brooklyn Poets Anthology, and Eternal Snow. He lives in Brooklyn, NY, and teaches in NYU’s Global Liberal Studies program. Visit Tim at

Fiction and Non-Fiction with Robin Hemley & Xu Xi

Authors at Large co-founders Robin Hemley and Xu Xi will offer two workshops during the 2017 APWT conference in Bali for the special conference price of only US$110.

Each workshop runs between 2.5 to 3 hours and participants must submit a manuscript of no more than 1,500 words in the genre they wish to take. Fiction will be led by Xu Xi and nonfiction led by Robin Hemley.

Participants are accepted to these workshops on the basis of manuscript submission only and each workshop is capped at no more than 15 participants. Deadline for submission of manuscripts is Friday 8th of September. Excerpts of your writing will be read by the group for discussions of writing craft.  There will be short generative writing exercises during the session to help you improve and hone your work.

To apply follow this link.

Found in Translation with Sholeh Wolpé

Words are only music in a language you don’t understand. Meaning changes when you don’t know the culture from which a poem comes from. We often hear the phrase “Lost in Translation” because it is easy to fail a poem, its music and meaning in the act of moving it from one language and culture to another. Hence, a good translation is often a re-creation. But what if we took a poem in its original form and let it inspire us? Take us to a place we might otherwise never go?

In this workshop we will examine “Windup Doll,” a beautiful and musical poem by the iconic 20th Century Iranian poet, Forugh Farrokhzad. You will listen to a recording of her reading (in Persian) and follow the poem in transliteration along with its word-by-word translation. You will then be asked to write a creative translation based on your take on where the poem carries you. How does your world intersect with Forugh’s? Can you mimic the music or cadence of her poem?

Poems generated in this workshop will be considered for an anthology of poems based on Farrokhzad’s Windup Doll.

Sholeh Wolpé is an Iranian-born poet, writer, and public speaker. A recipient of the 2014 PEN/Heim, 2013 Midwest Book Award and 2010 Lois Roth Persian Translation prize, among others, Wolpé ’s literary work include four collections of poetry, two plays, three books of translations, and three anthologies. Wolpé’s writings have been translated into eleven languages and her modern translation of The Conference of the Birds (W.W. Norton) by 12th century Iranian mystic poet, Attar, has been hailed by Reza Aslan as a translation that “is sure to be as timeless as the masterpiece itself.” She has lived in the UK and Trinidad and is presently based in Los Angeles.

Editing: an insiders' guide with Cate Blake and Ian See

Editing: an insiders’ guide

Join Cate Blake (commissioning editor, Penguin Random House) and Ian See (editor, University of Queensland Press) for this workshop on the craft of editing. With group discussions and written exercises, Cate and Ian will take you through different aspects of structural and line editing, including pacing, point of view and clarity of expression. You’ll gain an understanding of what to expect once your book’s been contracted, as well as tips on how to refine your work.

Maximum 12 participants