Susan Lynch

SusanLynchBioSusan Lynch walks a peripatetic path and has been called a serious word freak. Her songs have been recorded by Joan Jett and ABBA’s Agnetha Faltskog. Cadence, lyricism and the incantatory power of words pervade her scribblings; straddling natural worlds and multiverses provide inspiration and direction. She holds a BA in English from Reed College, where she studied with poets including Katie Ford, Crystal Williams, Ilya Kaminsky, Carolyn Forché, Tess Gallagher, Ross Gay, Nick Flynn, Patricia Smith, Mary Szybist and Nicky Finney. Susan spent junior year at Oxford studying Yeats, English Literature, French Medieval Literature, Celtic Mythology and Early Irish Metrics in the Sarah Lawrence Exchange Programme. She is the author of Ethics for Invisible Worlds, a creative thesis followed by Into the All Empty, her full-length collection for Goddard’s West Coast low-residency MFA program. Poems are published in the US and UK. Associate Editor of The Conium Review, she lives on Vashon Island and rarely boards the ferry.

Teaching Philosophy

Creative writing, and poetry in particular, is a mercurial, alchemical, mysterious thing, involving muses and movement, white space and words. I want students to be informed, supported and encouraged in their work so they can be original; not told what or how to write but assisted in finding the shape and heart of their poem, the words to say and not say for the magic to happen. This is helped in part by reading poets, to open to the diversity of process and the possibilities of allusion and form. Everyone does it differently. This includes both the original draft and revisions, a core transformative process that is the essence of craft. Playing with that stuff Ezra Pound called langwidg. So, we research process, and explore the lives of the poets a bit, see how their lives turn up in their work. We look at what is on the page, a lot; analysis gets pretty exciting. Knowing the language of poetics really helps, not only in creative work but in the understanding and critique of any piece. This synthesis of creative writing, poetics, prosody and process is an innovative pedagogical approach, which empowers the poet and raises the discussion to one that is truly meaningful and above all helpful, rather than merely critical. This is a key component of my workshops, which tend to rock.

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