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Off Campus Writers' Workshop - OCWW

Kathleen Rooney - Send in the Clowns: Using Humor to Deepen Emotional Impact

  • April 20, 2023
  • 9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
  • ONSITE - 620 Lincoln Avenue, Winnetka, IL /REMOTE


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Robert Frost famously said “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader.” The corollary, then, must also hold true: “No laughs in the writer, no laughs in the reader." Structurally, a happy surprise can be as impressive as a sad one, and in this session, writers will learn how to use humor and comic timing to make their poetry more emotionally complex, considering how the addition of comedy—even to poems that are ultimately serious--can yield a more pleasing experience for both author and audience.

Kathleen Rooney is a founding editor of Rose Metal Press, as well as a founding member of Poems While You Wait. Her most recent books include the novels Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk (St. Martin’s Press, 2017) and Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey (Penguin, 2020). Her poetry collection Where Are the Snows won the 2021 X.J. Kennedy Prize and was published by Texas Review Press in fall of 2022. Her novel From Dust to Stardust, based on the life and work of silent movie star Colleen Moore, will be published by Lake Union in the fall of 2023. She lives in Chicago with her spouse, the writer Martin Seay, and teaches English and Creative Writing at DePaul University. 

Kathleen will judge the OCWW Humor Contest. Please visit Manuscripts  on our website for details.

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