Virtual Poetry Salon Workshop - June 16

Virtual Poetry Salon Workshop - June 16th

Emma Lazarus’s “New Colossus,” written in 1883, is perhaps America’s most enduring poem and has been inspiring people — and poets — for generations. Emma Lazarus was a fifth-generation American Jew caught in an important turning point in American history. In the 1880s the country debated immigration, inequality, and American identity. Lazarus immersed herself in the debates, adding her own voice to the mix with her poetry and other writing. AJHS invites you to  craft a poem that addresses the nation's debates: if you could write a poem for the Statue of Liberty, what would it say?

Lazarus drew inspiration from her friends and fellow artists  and writers, regularly gathering  at "The Studio," the home of her friends Richard and  Helena DeKay Gilder. In the spirit of these gatherings, and because we need community more than ever, AJHS invites you to join us for an upcoming "Virtual Poetry Salon Workshop."


Led by celebrated teaching poets and contributors to the 92nd Street Y's #ANewColossus poetry festival, These virtual poetry workshops will delve into the construction and techniques used in writing “The New Colossus,” and place Lazarus' poem side by side with work by contemporary poets that is “descended” from, or inspired by, the original poem. 

Using what they have discovered as a springboard, salon participants will have two writing sessions per class based on prompts inspired by the poems they have discussed. During each salon, participants will have the chance to share the work they have created with their peers.  Some take-home revision and new poem prompt ideas will be provided as well.

Salon participants have the opportunity to submit their work to AJHS' national poetry contest. Poems are being accepted on a rolling basis, and winner will be announced September of 2020.

Workshops in the Months of May and June will feature Lynn Melnick 

Lynn Melnick is the author of the poetry collections Refusenik, Landscape with Sex and Violence, and If I Should Say I Have Hope, and the co-editor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation. Her poetry has appeared in APR, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Poetry, and A Public Space. Her essays have appeared in LA Review of Books, ESPN, and the anthology Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape CultureI've Had to Think Up a Way to Survive, a book about Dolly Parton that is also a bit of a memoir, is forthcoming from University of Texas Press in 2022. A former fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, and previously on the executive board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts, she currently teaches poetry at Columbia University and the 92Y.