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Beyond Reality: Poetry Inspired by Surrealist Art

Write ekphrastic poems in response to Surrealist art in this nine-week poetry workshop with Erica Goss.

9 Tuesdays:
April 4, 11, 18, 25; May 2, 9,16, 23, & 30.

7:00-8:30 PM Pacific

Members $219 | Nonmembers $249

This event is virtual and will meet in the Wordcrafters Online Zoom Studio

This is an intermediate class, open to writers 16 and up.

Members save 10% on this class and every class. Want to know more about membership? Click here.

The Surrealists were a group of artists, writers and poets who practiced between the two World Wars. The Surrealist movement was a reaction to the forces that had brought about the devastation resulting from World War I. Its founder, Andre Breton, saw the unconscious as the wellspring of the imagination. In art and in writing, surrealism often juxtaposes unexpected images together in deliberately strange ways—a clock melting over the back of a horse, or bowler-hatted men raining from the sky.

In this class, we will write ekphrastic poems (poems inspired by visual art) in response to paintings from artists of the Surrealist period, including Salvador Dali, Jean Arp, Max Ernst, and René Magritte.

Each week, we’ll study the work of a different artist, sharing our insights with the class. As part of a writing community, we’ll comment constructively on each other’s work, giving and receiving feedback in a respectful manner. By the end of the course, students will have eight drafts or completed poems, one for each week, and an appreciation for ekphrasis as an inspiration for poetic creativity.


Classes will feature in-class and out of class writing and readings, sharing work, and commenting on others’ writing.


Erica Goss served as Poet Laureate of Los Gatos, CA from 2013-2016. In 2019, she won the Zocalo Poetry Prize. She is the author of Night Court, winner of the 2016 Lyrebird Award, Wild Place, and Vibrant Words: Ideas and Inspirations for Poets. Recent work appears in Lake Effect, Atticus Review, Contrary, Convergence, Spillway, Cider Press Review, Eclectica, The Tishman Review, Tinderbox, The Red Wheelbarrow, and Main Street Rag, among others. She is the founder of Girls’ Voices Matter, an arts education program for teen girls. Erica is the editor of Sticks & Stones, a monthly poetry newsletter. Please visit her at www.ericagoss.com.