Hahn is open to teaching workshops at all levels. She has taught semester-long, day-long, and week-long workshops, as well as held individual conferences for graduates, undergraduates, and teachers. Below find example course descriptions and testimonials.
Japanese Forms to Tilt the Western Mind
This workshop is for writers who are interested in exploring classic forms from Japan. A sense of one’s own voice and style is a good departure point for experimentation; that is, the much-abused haiku as well as the lesser-known zuihitsu. Each day we will read texts–some translated from the classics, others written by Westerners in English–and talk about craft. From there I will make up assignments to be done in and out of workshop. The idea is that these forms will open up new possibilities for exploring one’s raw material as well as expanding one’s notion of what form and structure are. The workshops themselves will be run in a conventional manner. For the first day, bring a ‘polished’ poem (not based on Japanese influence) so we can hear your poetic voice. From then on, everything will be new.
Can Poetry Be a Project?
Can poetry be a project? Some writers exclaim no. No, because poetry is art and as art, composition depends on creating form out of unconscious materials. But can’t a project, such as a dedicated form or theme, offer a reservoir from which the writer draws that material–? We will explore a range of possible projects that include sequences, dramatic monologues, epistolary poems. Actually, let’s think of the word projections, as in T.S. Eliot’s Prufrock line, as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen.
Closure Is Not the End
As “the last word,” closure is a concern for writers of all genres. It is the close of the writer’s relationship with writing and revising; for the reader, it is parting with the immediate experience of both the text and the writer. This parting should be a physical experience. So why is it that texts often end with an easy or obvious ending—many of which feel cliched, as if we’ve read this “poignant” end or feel like a punch line. Or the end might feel slapped on as if the writer was in a hurry to get it over (same is true of titles). In this craft class we will explore the structure of various texts to see how each achieves closure and why. You will also look at your own work and see what options are presented. Readings will include Barbara Herrnstein Smith’s classic text, Poetic Closure.
A wonderful, generous teacher, Kimiko Hahn inspired her students to do their absolute best work. And her craft talk on Japanese poetic forms was riveting. Superb all around!
—Cristina Garcia, author and co-founder/director of Las Dos Brujas Writing Workshop Retreat
Kimiko Hahn encourages her students to surprise themselves at every turn, always pushing for authentic risk, toward what Keats called “Negative Capability” and what Lorca termed “Duende.” Studying with her changed forever the way I write and how I think about poetry.
—John Murillo, author, professor, and Hahn’s former graduate student
Kimiko Hahn, distinguished professor in our program, is known for the attention she gives to undergraduates and graduates alike—as well as alum who seek her continuing advise. Her thesis students have told me that their work with her has further honed their skills in revision. This is how she conducts her spirited workshop and craft classes. And of course all along, everyone reads poetry, canonical and new. Kimiko brings a freshness and sense of play to all the diligence that she expects.
—Nicole Cooley, author, professor, MFA director at Queens College, The City University of New York