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Saturday, September 29 • 3:00pm - 5:00pm
What’s So Funny?: A Workshop On Writing Absurdist Poetry

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“What’s So Funny?” is a poetry workshop I developed to talk about how one can use humor in
poetry as a coping mechanism to confront despair. Poetry that employs absurdist humor acts as
a perfect foil to political and social climates that create surreal experiences that defy rational
thought. Drawing on a diverse range of influences like Saturday Night Live’s Jack Handey’s
“Deep Thoughts,” poetry by Jennifer L. Knox, Eileen Myles, and Charles Simic, along with
stand-up comedians like Maria Bamford, the workshop will dissect how syntax, rising tension,
and surreal imagery work together to elicit laughs from readers and prepare them to confront
existential topics in poetry.

The workshop begins with an ice-breaker that asks students to consider what they think is
funny, transitions into a PowerPoint presentation that offers context for absurdism in poetry as
an act of defiance, then concludes with a discussion of three prompts that students would use
during the workshop to free-write and generate poem drafts.

This workshop is open to as many as 20 beginning to experienced writers who want to write
new poems and would like to think seriously about being funny. The would arrive to the
workshop with either a laptop or writing instrument/notebook to use during the generation
portion of the workshop.


Aileen Keown Vaux

Career Advisor, College of Arts, Letters and Education at EWU
Aileen Keown Vaux (Consolation Prize, 2018) earned her MFA from Eastern WashingtonUniversity, and her essays and poems can be found in Lilac City Fairy Tales, Railtown Almanac, and The Spokesman-Review.  Currently, she lives in Spokane, WA where she works as a Career Advisor for... Read More →

Saturday September 29, 2018 3:00pm - 5:00pm PDT
Board Room Missoula Public Library

Attendees (3)