Dolin, Sharon

Sharon Dolin

PhD, English, Cornell University

MA, English, University of California at Berkeley

Part Time Lecturer

I am interested in the possibilities of poetry being written today, from the traditional to the experimental. I believe that progress in the arts is in the form of a spiral: We are always in conversation with what came before while moving toward what will be. No forms are exhausted; they are there to be renewed. What this means, practically, is that I believe that the more students read poems from the tradition as well as contemporary poetry, the stronger their own work will become.

In my fourth book, Burn and Dodge, I became more focused on linguistic play than in my previous books and I employ such forms as the sonnet/ghazal (my hybrid creation) and homophonic verse (poems translating other poems by sound). In a previous book, Serious Pink, I focused on writing ekphrastic poems (those in dialogue with works of art), in that case, in dialogue mostly with abstract painting. Ekphrasis has been one of my abiding interests in poetry.

My teaching over the last twenty years has been at a range of institutions including:  The Cooper Union, the 92nd Street Y, Hofstra University, Adelphi University, as well as at Eugene Lang. As a working poet for more than 30 years, I encourage my students to stretch the boundaries of their writing so they don’t keep writing the same kind of poem. They try out different approaches and strategies such as writing in forms like the pantoum and ghazal as well as using appropriated language.  Above all, students learn about the importance of revision by focusing on such key aspects as the composition of the line, stanzaic structure, tone, syntax, image and metaphor, and rhythm and rhyme. For those whose background is in prose, they quickly learn that poetry is concerned with the unspoken as well as the spoken, with the presence of gaps and silences as much as with what gets filled in.
Courses Taught:

Introduction to Poetry

Intermediate Poetry: “Invisible Guests”: Embracing Poetic Influence

Reading for Writers: Hybrid Poetry?

Recent Publications:

WHIRLWIND,  a book of poems, (forthcoming from University of Pittsburgh Press, 2012)

“To the Furies Who Visited Me in the Basement of Duane Reade,” Pushcart Prize XXXV Best of the Small Presses (2011)

Burn and Dodge,
winner of the 2007 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008)

Realm of the Possible (Four Way Books, 2004)

Serious Pink (Marsh Hawk Press, 2003)

Individual poems and essays in dozens of publications including:  The AWP Chronicle, Barrow Street, The Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, 5 AM, The Georgia Review, Jacket, The Kenyon Review, New American Writing, The New Republic, Poetry International, and Prairie Schooner.



Research Interests:


Ekphrastic poetry; Procedural Poetics; Theories of Free Verse Prosody.

Professional Affiliations:


The Association of Writers and Writing Programs, Academy of American Poets, The Center for Book Arts, Poetry Society of America, Poets House.

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