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SPLAB Presents a workshop with Sam Hamill

SPLAB Presents a NW Visit from legendary Cubano poet José Kozer

The Northwest SPokenword LAB along with the Richard Hugo House, Poets & Writers, the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs and the Washington Poets Association, is proud to announce a poetry workshop with Cuban expatriate poet José Kozer, 1-5P on Sunday, February 1, 2009, at the Richard Hugo House, 1634 11th Avenue, in Seattle.

Registration for the workshop is $100, and can be done on-line at: this link. For more information, call 253.735.6328. Participants are to send no more than 2 pages of poetry, preferably when registering.

Click here to register.

Jose will also facilitate a workshop in Spanish on Tuesday, February 3, from 7-10PM, in Seattle sponsored by Casa de Escritores. Suggested donation $50. This event is sponsored by 4Culture, the City of Seattle Neighborhood Programs, and House of Writers.

He'll do school workshops/lectures in Mt. Vernon, Friday, February 6, sponsored by the Skagit River Poetry Festival. A reading will happen in the Mount Vernon High School Auditorium from 7-9PM.

A weekend featuring Cuban pescatarian cuisine in the cafe and a 1-5PM workshop and 7PM reading on Saturday, February 7, by Jose will be featured at Doe Bay, on Orcas Island, co-sponsored by the Orcas Island Writer's Festival and the Skagit River Poetry Festival. For reservations, contact Doe Bay at 360.376.2291 or click here.

He will also read on Monday, February 9, 2009
at the LaRoux Room, Seattle University Student Center
Book signing and reception to follow
Sam Green reads the work in English.

Jose's visit to the NW is sponsored by Poets & Writers.
Seattle events are co-sponsored by the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs.

Workshop limited to 20 participants. The participant will present a poem, maximum two pages, to be read out loud by participant and then discussed by the entire group. Discussion should be centered on technical issues rather than value judgements on texts, and even though at times these are things difficult to separate, the idea is that as a group we would try to point out the elements of the text that do not work properly, its reasons, rather than indicating one’s judgment on text.


Participant is responsible for preparing one photocopy of poem for each member of the workshop, since it is difficult to work with an unknown text without having it in front of ones eyes. Organizers of workshop should be able at one point to tell all participants the number of copies to hand in.


We should spend some time at the end of each period talking about issues that derive from discussion of shared texts during workshop. I will be responsible for bringing out to the group, at the start of each session, a number of ideas that I deem important for a poet living in the beginning of the 21st. century.


It could be of interest to try and write a poem in a foreign language which the participant does not command very well, and present it with the participant’s own translation: this on a purely experimental basis, which is not to say that it should not be taken seriously.

José Kozer (b. Havana, 1940) is the son of parents who migrated to Cuba from Poland and Czechoslovakia in the 1920s, and the grandson of a founder of Adath Israel, Cuba’s first Ashkenazi synagogue. He studied law at the University of Havana, left Cuba in 1960, and received a BA from NYU in 1965. He taught for many years at Queens College of the City University of New York, retiring as a full professor in 1997, after which he lived for two years in Spain before settling in South Florida. He is the author of over 15 collections of verse. His most recent, No buscan reflejarse (2002), a selection from past volumes, is the first poetry collection by a living Cuban exile to be published in Havana. Two small bilingual collections of his poems, The Ark Upon the Number (1982) and Prójimos / Intimates (Barcelona, 1990), both translated by Amiel Alcalay, have been published. Stet, a far more comprehensive selection of poems, appeared in a bilingual edition with translations by Mark Weiss from Junction Press in 2006. You can read Eugenia Demuro’s review of that book in Jacket 34, and Christopher Winks’ review also in Jacket 34. He is also coeditor, with Roberto Echavarren and Jacobo Sefamí, of Medusario Muestra De Poesia Latinoamericana/ a Sampling of Latin American Poetry (1996). “Rebirth of Kafka” appeared in Bajo este cien (1983). You can read four poems by José Kozer, translated by Mark Weiss, in Jacket 18.

José would like up to 2 pages of work to preview from each participant. Poems can be sent to Paul Nelson, 908 i St. N.E. #4, Auburn, WA 98002-4146 and should be sent by December 31st.

José will also be the feature at the Red Sky Poetry Theater reunion, starting at 7PM that evening, also at the Richard Hugo House. On Sunday, March 1, Red Sky will have the 4th reading in its reunion series, featuring a Tribute to the late Irene Drennan, with Esther Helfgott, Priscilla Long, Denise Calvetti-Michaels, Anne Sweet and Diane Westergaard, also at the Hugo House.

Good Kozer links for more details on his aesthetic:

Conversation with Nicholas Mansito.

Four poems translated by Mark Weiss

John Marshall's April 2000 P.I. article on Red Sky is linked here.