Sundress Academy for the Arts Presents: “[B]e prostrate / be praise”: Writing the Self Sacred & Profane

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is excited to present this generative workshop focusing on poetry of the self led by Leah Silvieus on February 10th, 2021 from 6-7:30PM EST. This event will be held over Zoom. Participants can access the event at, with the password ‘safta.’

In this generative poetry workshop, which takes its title from a line in Eric Tran’s poem “How to Pray,” we will consider how what we might consider “sacred” and “profane” can provide entryways into thinking about our selves’ relationship to our identities, to other people, and to the divine or supernatural (however one conceives of them). We will look toward contemporary poets such as Tran and others as guiding lights as we work through linked writing prompts that will navigate us through the generative space that opens up among the contending forces of the sacred/profane, belief/disbelief and religious texts/rituals and their subversions/re-imaginings.

Over the course of this workshop, we will think together through questions such as, “How do poets use the profane to access the sacred and vice-versa?” “What is the relationship between the two?” “How does poetry work to draw/re-draw or dissolve boundaries between them?” At the end of the workshop, participants will emerge with a vibrant first poem draft that travels the strange space between the sacred and profane in their own poetic imaginations. Find the poems for this workshop online here.

While there is no fee for this workshop, those who are able and appreciative can make direct donations to the leader via Venmo (@Leah-Silvieus).

Leah Silvieus (she/her) is the author most recently of the poetry collection Arabilis and is the co-editor of The World I Leave You: Asian American Poets on Faith and Spirit. She holds an MFA from the University of Miami and has awards and fellowships from The National Book Critics Circle, Fulbright, and Kundiman. Her criticism has appeared in The Harvard Review, The Believer, and elsewhere. She is currently based in New Haven where she is studying literature and religion at Yale Divinity School and the Yale Institute of Sacred Music.  


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