Using Blues to Cope With Your Moments

Using Blues to Cope With Your Moments

Instructor: Curtis L. Crisler
Date:  Thursday, July 23
Time:  6:00–9:00 p.m.
Location: Zoom
Cost: $75 nonmembers, $48 members, $42 student members/teacher members/senior members/military members/librarian members

In this three-hour poetry workshop, we will take a short romp through the historical lens of blues. We will see how Langston Hughes (one of the premiere writers of The Harlem Renaissance) replicated blues through verse, on the page. We will look at a couple of practitioners of the blues. We will write our own poems. And hopefully, if there’s time, we will share what we are constructing and creating, so afterwards you work to continue to finish your poems.

Supplies needed: Participants will need paper, pencils/pens (whatever you like to write with), and/or your laptop/pads/computer/phone, etc.

Theme-wise: you can address subjects like George Floyd, protests, policing (from both sides), police and their children, police assisting and/or defunding police, COVID-19, social distancing, work, healthcare, school, romance, eating at restaurants, humanity, racism, democracy, or other subjects that may weigh heavy on your mind/heart, etc.


Curtis L. Crisler was born and raised in Gary, Indiana. He received a BA in English, with a minor in Theatre, from Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), and he received an MFA from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Crisler’s (and Kevin McKelvey’s) book, Indiana Nocturnes: Our Rural and Urban Patchwork, was recently released (Nebo Publishing). Other poetry books are THe GReY aLBuM [PoeMS], won the Steel Toe Books Open Reading Period Prize; Don’t Moan So Much (Stevie): A Poetry Musiquarium was published by (Kattywompus Press); “This” Ameri-can-ah was published by (Cherry Castle Publishing). His poetry chapbook, Black Achilles, was published by Accents Publishing. His previous books are Pulling Scabs (nominated for a Pushcart), Tough Boy Sonatas (YA), and Dreamist: a mixed-genre novel (YA). Other chapbooks are Wonderkind (nominated for a Pushcart), Soundtrack to Latchkey Boy, Spill (which won a Keyhole Chapbook Award), and Burnt Offering of a City (which won the Kathy Young Chapbook Award). He is the recipient of fellowships and residencies from the City of Asylum/Pittsburgh (COA/P), Cave Canem, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), Soul Mountain, a guest resident at Hamline University, and a guest resident at Words on the Go (Indianapolis). Crisler has received a Library Scholars Grant Award, Indiana Arts Commission Grants, Eric Hoffer Awards, the Sterling Plumpp First Voices Poetry Award, and he was nominated for the Eliot Rosewater Award and the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Award. His poetry has been adapted to theatrical productions in New York and Chicago, and he’s been anthologized in Bop, Strut, and Dance: A Post Blues Form for New Generations; Furious Flower: Seeding the Future of African American Poetry; Undead: A Poetry Anthology of Ghosts, Ghouls, and More; The Golden Shovel Anthology; Resist Much Obey Little: Inaugural Poems to the Resistance; Not Like the Rest of Us: An Anthology of Contemporary Indiana Writers; Drawn to Marvel: Poems From the Comic Books; An Anthology of Chicago Poetry: City of the Big Shoulders; Say it Loud: Poems about James Brown; Our Common Suffering: Anthology of Poets in Memoriam 2008 Sichuan Earthquake; The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South: A Cave Canem Anthology; In the Eye: A Collection of Writings; Fingernails Across a Chalkboard: Anthology: Poetry and Prose on HIV/AIDS from the Black Diaspora; Gathering Ground: A Reader Celebrating Cave Canem’s First Decade; Only the Sea Keeps: Poetry of the Tsunami; Dare To Dream…Change The World; Essence, along with being published in a variety of magazines and journals. He’s hosted and presented at conferences, colleges/universities, high schools, junior high schools, juvenile and correctional facilities, and libraries. He’s been a Contributing Poetry Editor for Aquarius Press and a Poetry Editor for Human Equity through Art (HEArt). He created the Indiana Chitlin Circuit, and he is a Professor of English at Purdue University Fort Wayne (PFW). He can be contacted at


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