In 1933 in Buenos Aires, the electrifying Spanish poet Federico García Lorca presented his famous lecture, “Play and Theory of the Duende.” The Duende, Lorca said, is a goblin—as distinct from an angel or a muse—which inhabits great art. But what is this goblin, and what business does it have with our poems? Lorca left us a few cryptic hints. To begin with, “The Duende ... will not approach at all if he does not see the possibility of death, if he is not convinced he will circle death’s house ...” Also, “intellect is oftentimes the foe of poetry because it imitates too much, it elevates the poet to a throne of acute angles and makes him forget that in time the ants can devour him, too ...” In this workshop we will invite the mysterious goblin Duende for a visit. This session will include enthusiastic discussion, lots of examples, and playful writing exercises.
ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR
(John beside a statue of Lorca at the Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid)
John Wall Barger’s poems appear in American Poetry Review, Rattle, The Awl, The Cincinnati Review, Poetry Ireland Review, and Best of the Best Canadian Poetry. His poem, “Smog Mother,” was co-winner of The Malahat Review’s 2017 Long Poem Prize. His fourth book, The Mean Game, is coming out with Palimpsest Press in spring 2019. He is an editor for Painted Bride Quarterly.