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2014 Conference on Poetry Faculty: Ellen Doré Watson

Ellen Dore Watson

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Ellen Doré Watson’s most recent volume of poems is Dogged Hearts (Tupelo Press, 2010). Her journal appearances include The American Poetry Review, Tin House, Orion, and The New Yorker. Among her honors are a Rona Jaffe Writers Award, fellowships to the MacDowell Colony and to Yaddo, and an NEA Translation Fellowship. She has translated a dozen books from the Brazilian Portuguese, including the work of poet Adélia Prado, most recently Ex-Voto.  Watson serves as poetry editor of The Massachusetts Review, director of the Poetry Center at Smith College, and teaches in the Drew University Low-Residency MFA program in poetry and translation.

Teaching Statement: Theodore Roethke said “Poetry is an act of mischief”—YES!  I think there’s a much better chance of writing our best poems if we approach both the writing and the revising as a kind of serious play, trying during the generating process to curtail our intentions and in revision to enjoy exploring the many ways to be intentional. Robert Graves wrote: by Poetry “I mean both the controlled and the uncontrollable parts of the art taken together, because each is helpless without the other.” For me, creating drafts means right-brain doodling, flying blind, discovering what comes—and editing means experimenting with an array of strategies for shaping and re-imagining the work.

Date: December 23, 2013