The Makery: Out of the Mouths of Babes with Willie Carver Jr.

This course is about remembering. It is about remembering beyond the skin by remembering through the skin. This concept was best described by Toni Morrison, who had this to say about how the past affects our lives: “You know, they straightened out the Mississippi River in places, to make room for houses and livable acer-age. Occasionally the river floods these places. Floods is the word they use, but in fact it is not flooding; it is remembering. Remembering where it used to be. All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was. Writers are like that: remembering where we were, that valley we ran through, what the banks were like, the light that was there and the route back to our original place. It is emotional memory–what the nerves and the skin remember as well as how it appeared. And a rush of imagination is our flooding.

In this course, we we will read some about Narrative Development Theory to get an idea of what it is, but most of our work will be writing from examples and prompts that take us back to points of flooding–those foundational stories that make us who we are–as we learn to best express them via the elements of poetry and share them with classmates, who will, in turn, share their floods as well.

About the Instructor

Willie Edward Taylor Carver Jr. is an advocate, a Kentucky Teacher of the Year, and the author of a bestselling collection of narrative poetry about his childhood growing up queer in

Appalachia, Gay Poems for Red States (University Press of Kentucky), which was named aBook Riot Best Book of 2023, a Top Ten Best Book of Appalachia by Read Appalachia, an

IndieBound and American Bookseller’s Association’s must-have book, a 2023 Top Ten Over-The-Rainbow book by the American Library Association, and, most recently, was awarded

a 2024 Stonewall Book Award – Barbara Gittings Literature Honor Book Award. Carver’s work exists at the intersection of queer identity, Appalachian identity, and the politics of innocence.

Willie is a candidate for the MFA in poetry at the University of Kentucky. He publishes and presents on the subjects of education, marginalization, and identity, and his story has been

featured on ABC, CBS, PBS, NPR, and in The Washington Post, Le Monde, and Good Morning America. His story was chosen by Jonathan Van Ness as a story to share for education. His

advocacy has led him to engage President Biden and to testify before the United States Congressional Committee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties. His creative work has been

published in 100 Days in Appalachia, 2RulesofWriting, Another Chicago Magazine, Largehearted Boy Blog, Smoky Blue Literary Magazine, Miracle Monocle, Good River Review,

and Salvation South, where he is a feature poet of National Poetry Month.



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Aug 04 - 18 2024


11:00 am - 12:00 pm




Virtual Class


Corey Terry