ONLINE CLASS: Poetry Workshop — Years That Ask: Writing Vignettes about Loved Ones (2448)

Three Wednesdays: May 8, 15, and 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET Online

$140 per participant (10% off for members)

Lecture and Discussion with Writing Exercises. This live class will be recorded and available for later viewing.

Is there a distant relative who you have long admired? Join award-winning poet María Fernanda as we shed a light on an auntie, an uncle, and more extended, or chosen, family who love us from afar. The vignette will be our vehicle.

A vignette is an episodic piece of writing describing a person or a moment in time. In literature, vignettes often appear in a brief narrative form. They typically range from 60 words to 1,000 words. We will write short vignettes. Sources of inspiration will be examples of vignettes, epistolary writing, prose, and more.

Generative writing exercises will be shaped by Bhanu Kapil’s The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers, as well as poems by artists Dionne Brand, Sarah Ghazal Ali, and Nikky Finney.

Participants will have the opportunity to request feedback on their writing and engage in fresh activities, intended to inspire lasting connections and new work. 

This workshop title comes from Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God. Hurston writes, “There are years that ask questions, and years that answer.” There will be an opportunity in this workshop to write a vignette about a pivotal year from our lives.

Note: María Fernanda has shortened Hurston's quote to “Years That Ask,” which is also the title of María Fernanda’s New Year's Eve poem performed at the DCPL Mount Pleasant Library with guitarist/composer Christian Perez. 


By registering for this class, students agree they will follow these terms: 

  • Abide by our “Code of Conduct” while attending the class 

  • Will not share overtly obscene, hateful, or objectionable content. 

  • Will not share content that students do not have the rights to. 

Any work that perpetuates violence, inappropriate sexual conduct, racism, or negative stereotypes will not receive edits by the instructor or be circulated in the class.  

Code of Conduct:

Politics and Prose Bookstore is devoted to cultivating community and strengthening the common good through books, author talks, literary programs, and respectful dialogue. We strive to foster a safe, welcoming, inclusive environment for all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, or ability. In that spirit, we ask everyone in this shared, communal space to treat each other equally, fairly, and thoughtfully; honor different voices, life experiences, and points of view; and celebrate the diversity that makes our community richer and stronger. Hate, discrimination, and disrespect have no place at P&P; kindness, patience, and tolerance always do. 

Three Wednesdays: May 8, 15, and 22 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. ET Online

Required Reading:

Love Child's Hotbed of Occasional Poetry: Poems & Artifacts by Nikky Finney (9780810142015)

Referenced Reading:

The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers by Bhanu Kapil (9780932716569)

Inheritance by Taylor Johnson (9781948579131)

To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness by Robin Coste Lewis (9781524732585)

María Fernanda (she/her) is a poet whose work explores,“the breaking and making of family,” (Madenga; OkayAfrica). She has performed her work at Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center, The Phoenix Art Museum, and numerous other venues across the country. Awarded the The Norma Elia Cantú Award in Creative Writing, María Fernanda has received literary appointments from The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and The Arizona Commission on the Arts. Her literary works appear in The Library of Congress’ Presidential Campaign Posters, The Breakbeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNext, Cave Canem's Dogbytes, and elsewhere. For more, visit

REFUND POLICY: Please note that we can issue class refunds up until seven (7) days before the first class session.

SKU: 9787000013155
Enter the name of the primary household member listed on the membership

Love Child's Hotbed of Occasional Poetry: Poems & Artifacts By Nikky Finney Cover Image
ISBN: 9780810142015
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: TriQuarterly - April 15th, 2020

The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers By Bhanu Kapil Cover Image
ISBN: 9780932716569
Availability: Special Order—Subject to Availability
(This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Kelsey Street Press - October 12th, 2001

Inheritance By Taylor Johnson Cover Image
ISBN: 9781948579131
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Alice James Books - November 10th, 2020

To the Realization of Perfect Helplessness By Robin Coste Lewis Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524732585
Availability: In Stock—Click for Locations
Published: Knopf - December 6th, 2022