Registration open now: Chiropractic Poetics, Jan. 8 – March 5, 2017, online

Registration open now: Chiropractic Poetics, an online workshop running 8 January – 5 March, 2017. (Coming to AWP? All good- we can work around it.)

Does your poetic practice feel creaky and out of alignment? Are you bored with what you’re writing? Bring your bones, a.k.a. poems, to this workshop to adjust them into a looser way of being. Consider it bodywork for your poems- the ones that feel stiff and pinched in a same old kind of way. We’ll work through a series of adjustments, one a week, to open them up and make the tension work for you. You’ll be surprised by what you find. You’ll gain a more intimate understanding of ways to move around inside your drafts and how to open them up on your own. We will read poems, too, and you will get feedback from me on everything you share.

Registration: $275. Save your spot now with an $80 deposit (non-refundable; applied toward your registration) or register in full if you’re ready. Registration is rolling, but my workshops tend to fill up quickly and I recommend not waiting until the last minute. I’ll update again here once the workshop is at capacity.

Want to help others access this workshop? Donate to a scholarship fund here.

To inquire about scholarship availability, get in touch with me here.

Are you a chiropractor? No, I’m a poet and an experienced writing teacher who got interested in the ways that my poetic practice has sometimes felt stuck in the way that my body has, and began to hone a series of techniques that- similar to how chiropractors treat the body through hands-on adjustments- focus on opening up the structure of a poem, and moving the pieces past their normal range of movement, to stimulate nerve endings and electrify our belief in poetry again. It’s about writing a poem that surprises you, that moves you because of the ways you’ve allowed the poem to move.

What do I need? An internet connection, some poems, scissors, tape or a glue stick, and optionally a cell phone camera so you can upload pictures to our space.

Will we write new poems or just revise them? Some of both. If you have a stack of poems you want to revise, you’ll find the adjustments quite helpful- but you can also use each week as an opportunity to draft a new poem and adjust it right away.

Do participants all need to be online together at the same time? No, you can log on whenever you want, at any time of day or night. While the same group of participants will work through the same prompts and materials together over the eight weeks, and discuss together, you can do so asynchronously.

Please note: I’m invested in the imaginations of folks on the margins. As such, this online workshop is committed to a harassment-free space for all participants, regardless of race, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, or religion. Harassment of fellow participants will not be tolerated in any form. Anyone who violates this will be notified and may be removed from the workshop, and a refund will not be available. This workshop encourages and prioritizes marginalized people’s safety and participation.  (Adapted from Geek Feminism Wiki Code of Conduct)

About the instructor: Oliver Baez Bendorf is a queer and trans poet, cartoonist, librarian, and teaching artist, who has taught creative writing, cartooning, visual thinking, and poetry-comics to groups of all ages and all skill levels. His book of poems, The Spectral Wilderness, was selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize and was named a “Spectacular Book of 2015” by Split This Rock, and his poetry, comics, and poetry-comics have been published in The Adirondack Review, Alaska Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, The Feminist Wire, Indiana Review, jubilat, The Rumpus, Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, and elsewhere. He holds an MFA in Poetry and an MA in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he also apprenticed with writer and cartoonist Lynda Barry and helped lead Drawing Jams at Barry’s Image Lab. He has recently taught workshops at Mount Holyoke College, 826DC, the Queens Center for Gay Seniors, and the Allied Media Conference in Detroit. He lives in Washington, D.C., where he cofounded the Mount Pleasant Poetry Project. He loves working with diverse creative people and particularly encourages registration from women, queer and trans folks, people of color, and people with disabilities.

To learn more about my teaching philosophy, read this recent interview in Poets & Writers:

and my blog post “Teaching Art to All Ages”: