In a bid to open the boundaries of the Burlington Writers Workshop (BWW) beyond virtual meetings and into other methods of outreach, poetry workshop facilitator Max Roland Ekstrom has launched a YouTube channel focusing on poetry technique.
“Burlington Writers Workshop attracts talented writers from all over the world,” says Max, “but logistically, not everyone is able to attend our workshops due to time zone, work schedule, technical, or lifestyle issues. I want to extend our community of ideas.”
Since 2020, BWW has shifted all its workshops online, and while its roots remain deeply connected to Vermont literary soil, more and more people in the US and abroad are participating. For Max, poetry is an essential way to connect during the pandemic.
Max’s channel focuses on the sonnet, a form that likely originated in Arabian courts and developed in Southern France during the High Middle Ages. Sonnets are a central feature of English verse and continue to influence how contemporary poetry is practiced today. “The sonnet is the heart and soul of English-language poetry, from Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella to Terrance Hayes’ American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins.”
Max uses his knowledge of poetic craft to unpack a different sonnet every week, looking under the hood of how each poem works on a technical level. A dedicated student of the form, Max has published both traditional sonnets and “loose” sonnets in leading American literary journals such as The Lyric and The Hollins Critic. He is also anthologized in Except for Love: New England Poets Inspired by Donald Hall. Max holds an MFA from Emerson College.
Max Roland Ekstrom hosts the monthly poetry workshop at BWW. Please check the BWW Meetup Group to find all our upcoming events.