Nan Cohen

Instructor Biography:

MA, author of two books of poetry: Unfinished City and Rope Bridge. Ms. Cohen serves as the Chair of the English Department at Viewpoint School and serves as the Poetry Director of the Napa Valley Writers Conference. She was a Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer in Poetry in the Stanford University Creative Writing Prorgram, and has received fellowships and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.

Instructor Statement:

Elizabeth Bishop once suggested, in a letter to May Swenson, that poetry is a way of “thinking with one’s feelings.” Her four-word formulation is as accurate a way of saying what it is to write a poem as any other I’ve found!  It’s also, I think, why workshops can be such an important part of our process as writers.  Poets need, as first readers, other people who know how to think and to feel, who can combine analysis with intuition.  We read classic and contemporary poets to help us develop a shared vocabulary, articulate the questions we’re most engaged with, and establish an atmosphere of fellowship and respect in which we can give our most generous and serious attention to one another’s work. Whether this is your first workshop or one of many, each new poem poses its own challenges, and we can help one another move toward the best possible expression of feeling and thought.

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