The Irony of Billy Collins & Other Collected Poets

Poem-Making With Jim Moreno (760) 802-2449

Sunday, October  27, 2019, 1:00 P.M. To 4:00 P.M.

San Diego Writers, Ink 2730 Historic Decatur Rd #202-204, San Diego, CA 92106

Register by clicking on the following link:

    Luke Hankins' blog The Age of Irony? on (October 29, 2012), suggests Irony does not make a poem “relevant” or “up-to-date.” And yet these assumptions seem to underlie much of what is being written today. Poet Jim Moreno suggests that irony in the writing of poets such as Billy Collins, Elizabeth Bishop, W.H. Auden, or Dean Young puts some Rumi or Steve Kowit “juice” in a line of poetry if not the poem itself. The juice can also be called surprise.

     Moreno: I find that a well-placed ironic twist or theme in a poem can transform the writer and the reader listening to or reading the poemrhymed or unrhymed. In some instances the poem turns and an ironic light turns a rant into a chant that is music, truth, and beats the closest to the writer's and the reader's heart. At least that's what happened when I read Collins' 'Lanyard' or his 'Flames', Elizabeth Bishop's 'One Art', or Robert Bly's 'People Like Us': You can wander into the wrong classroom, And hear great poems lovingly spoken By the wrong professor. And you find your soul And greatness has a defender, and even in death you're safe. This poetry class, for beginning or seasoned poets, explores the poetry of irony but not close cousin, satire.

     Our great American treasure, Robert Frost, stated, Poetry is one permissible way of saying one thing and meaning another. Frost might fashion the ironic to his verse from different perspectives such as verbal, situational, and dramatic. Those perspectives will be brought to life in this class.

     Comedy that dresses the ironic windows of such shows as Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, or the 11 year run of The Colbert Report, parallel how the pen can fill the page of a poet's ironic verse from a comedic stance. The poet can then write a political, social, existential, or life poem sans the soapbox.

     The supportive nature of this poetry workshop reminds participants to remember that this is not a critique workshop. The Mission Statement at San Diego Writers, Ink reminds our teaching artists to educate from a nurturing, encouraging place, to elevate writing from a Container of respect, safety, & reprieve. Therefore, this workshop leans in the direction of generating forms of irony in your poetry that amuse, challenge, surprise, or inspire. We start with the master of irony, Billy Collins, and then move into poets of equal ilk that remove the angst from staring at your blank page. First thought, best thought as Ginsberg prescribed. Let your pen/cursor move across the page. Let your poet write the first draft. Let your editor revise. Get that reversed and you struggle to finish the poem.

     Jim Moreno is the author of Dancing in Dissent: Poetry For Activism (Dolphin Calling Press, 2007) and two cd's of poetry & music. He is a Teaching Artist & on the Program Committee of San Diego Writers, Ink. As Jim Hornsby, he is on the Advisory Board of the Poetic Medicine Institute in Palo Alto, California. Jim enjoys serving as a Regional Editor with the San Diego Poetry Annual. Mr. Moreno is a Teaching Artist with Arts For Learning where he was voted the Residency Teaching Artist of the Year in 2016-17. Moreno serves as the Poet-In-Residence for Mid City Community Music where he teaches poetry to at-risk youth. Jim also instructs poetry in Juvenile Hall where his adjudicated students have won over $1700 in publishing and contest awards since 2007. 55 of his adolescent students are published in this year's edition of the San Diego Poetry Annual, 2018-19. Jim hosts 2nd Sunday Jihmye Poetry Open Mic at The Spacebar Cafe & Wine Bistro, an open mic for music and spoken word in La Mesa. He launched his new website on July 4, 2019. Contact Jim at,, or Instagram.






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