"I have been looking at what its critics would
undoubtedly call the workshop poem—what Carolyn Kizer once
called "the good gray poem" of the workshops—for
twenty years, and I have to say I do not know what it is,
unless it is an early draft of a poem by a poet who is still
under forty. They have come in all sizes and shapes, struck
every known attitude and stance, showed unending ambition and
promise, and yes, they have all failed to one degree or
another to be the equal of "Sailing to Byzantium."
But, then, so did all of W.B.Yeats's work before he was forty
fail to be the equal of "Sailing to Byzantium."
from "On Being Large and
Before retiring from full time teaching
at Indiana University—Bloomington, Roger Mitchell taught both
undergraduate and graduate courses in literature and creative writing
for the Department of English. He directed the Creative Writing Program
and for a time held the Ruth Lilly Chair of Poetry. Since retiring, he
has taught as a Visiting Professor at Colorado College in Colorado
Not all his teaching has been in colleges and universities, however. He
has conducted writing workshops in a variety of locations and to all
levels of learners, from Poets-in-the-Schools programs in primary and
secondary schools to adult workshops at writers' conferences and in
prisons. Most recently, he has taught the summer writers' workshop for
the Old Forge Library in upstate New York, taught classes in poetry
writing for The Ragdale Foundation, The Poetry Center of Chicago, and
the Indiana University Writers' conference. He has also conducted
one-day workshops for a number of local writers' groups, such as Poetry
West in Colorado Springs and The Writers in Oak Park, Illinois.
Roger Mitchell is available for
short-term college and university appointments, writing workshops, and
Fees on request.