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Radical Empathy and the Persona Poem
Radical Empathy and the Persona Poem

Sat, Sep 02


AVA Gallery

Radical Empathy and the Persona Poem

A poetry workshop led by Willa Schneberg during the exhibition of her show, Bookish, at Astoria Visual Arts. Author reading at the gallery at 2 pm.

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Time & Location

Sep 02, 2023, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

AVA Gallery, 1000 Duane St, Astoria, OR 97103, USA

About the Event

Feeling individuals wish to enhance empathy towards non-humans and human beings. We can do so through reading and writing the persona poem—writing in a voice other than one’s own. By getting "inside" the life of another being, real or imagined, empathy and compassion come to the fore. We will transcend reliance on the traditional first person (the “I” closest to oneself), and the third person, two most common approaches to voice in narrative poetry-making. To experience the power of the persona poem in this workshop, we will read and discuss poems by poets who embrace this elastic form including Langston Hughes, Patricia Smith, Jane Bailey, and Don Colburn. 

Please come prepared with ideas of beings (whether humans, flora, or fauna) which you have a special interest in “knowing,” creatures you wish to embody.

We will write first drafts, and then share what we have written and discuss our process. There will be time to consider how walking in someone else’s shoes poetically intensifies compassion and empathy.

The workshop is free and includes a copy of The Naked Room by Willa Schneberg (maximum participants 12). Made possible by funds from the Ford Family Foundation, in collaboration with AVA (Astoria Visual Arts).


  • Admission to Workshop

    This ticket includes a free copy of The Naked Room by Willa Schneberg.

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