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2/24: The Music of the Archives: A Creative Writing Workshop

Friday, February 24, 2017 @ 2:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Workshop Facilitator: Rommi Smith, writer and PhD Researcher, The University of Leeds, England

English Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy states: ‘poetry is the music of being human.’ [1] In this writing and performance-based workshop, we will explore music, not only as prompt, stimulus and muse, but ‘the music of being human’ as a metaphor for life, experience and voices.

Together, we will explore Audre Lorde’s dictum that: ‘poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought.’ [2] How can we, as writers, or artists, or wordsmiths write the absent-presences inside the archive? How do we take what is missing: the unsaid, the silences, the gaps – and make them sing?

Rommi Smith’s own doctoral research concerns archives and the exploration of the ‘concert of voices’ within them. [3] Within this practice-based workshop, we will utilise methodologies central to Smith’s own doctoral writing process: from refrain to riffing; flow-writing to writing from scraps of evidence in order to give voice to the spaces in between. 

Please bring: paper, pen, a collection of poems you love (or that you’re reading at the moment) and any articles, fragments, objects, or documents which relate to your own research. Together, we work to use these aforementioned items as inspiration for our work.

Workshop Facilitator

Rommi Smith is a poet, playwright, performer and teacher. She has held numerous prestigious writing residencies for organisations ranging from the British Council to the BBC. Smith is the first British Parliamentary Writer in Residence and the first Poet in Residence for Keats House, London.

She teaches creative writing for a wealth of organisations and institutions and currently works as a writer in residence within the NHS. Smith mentored Theatre Masters’ students at The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London and for fourteen years taught creative writing and performance at Leeds University. Featured in the multi-award-winning documentary film, We Are Poets, Smith was poet-coach to the film’s young poets in the lead up to competing at Brave New Voices poetry slam championships.

Smith was awarded a Hedgebrook Fellowship and The Elizabeth George Award. A recipient of The John Barnard Scholarship at the University of Leeds, Smith is in the second year of her interdisciplinary, practice-led PhD inquiry. She acknowledges the financial support of Leeds University’s Researcher Mobility Grants, Impact Grants and Conference Grants in making her research visit possible. www.rommi-smith.co.uk

[1] Christina Patterson, ‘Carol Ann Duffy: “I Was Told to Get a Proper Job”’, The Independent (2009), para. 15 <http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/interviews/carol-ann-duffy-i-was-told-to-get-a-proper-job-1739622.html> [accessed 30 January 2017].

[2] Audre Lorde, ‘Poetry Is Not a Luxury’, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches (Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1984), p.37.

[3] Audre Lorde, The Cancer Journals (San Francisco: Aunt Lute books, 1980), p. 31.
Eventbrite - The Music of the Archives: A Creative Writing Workshop


Friday, February 24, 2017
2:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Event Category:


The Graduate Center Library


Skylight Room, CUNY Graduate Center

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About the Author

Stephen Zweibel is Digital Scholarship Librarian at The Graduate Center.