Dec 3rd 2022

All are welcome to a poetry discussion and creative writing workshop, “Hymns, Thingness, Broth,” created and led by Chessy Normile.

“The world had been created to comprehend itself/ as matter”
-from Brenda Hillman’s “Little Furnace”

In this session, we will explore Hymns and Things. We’ll discuss the history of hymn-writing and two contemporary examples – Carl Phillips’ “Hymn” & Jane Miller’s “May You Always be the Darling of Fortune” – and construct our own collective hymn together; we’ll celebrate Thingness, looking at Rilke’s Ninth Duino Elegy & Brenda Hillman’s “Little Furnace” (two of the great hymns to Things); and we’ll conclude with a generative writing exercise, building off our celebrations & discussions, which will be like the spice packet you put into hot water then boom you’ve got some soup.

Chessy Normile (she/her/hers) is a writer from NY currently living in Madison, WI as the 2022-23 Ronald Wallace Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. She received a BA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College and an MFA in poetry from The Michener Center for Writers at UT Austin where she was awarded an Academy of American Poets University Prize. Her first book of poems, Great Exodus, Great Wall, Great Party, was selected by Li-Young Lee for the 2020 APR/Honickman First Book Prize. She edits a zine series called Girl Blood Info.

Registration is required; space is limited. To register, fill out this form. We will do our best to accommodate everyone’s wishes while allowing as many people to participate in these workshops as is possible. This program is for adult participants, aged 18 and older.

Closed captioning is available via Google Meet. We are happy to provide ASL interpretation. Please let us know at least one week in advance, if possible, if you would benefit from an ASL interpreter in attendance. If you would benefit from any other accessibility measures, please contact us by emailing To learn more about Google Meet’s built-in accessibility features visit

Saturday, December 3, 2022, 11:00 AM CST–1:00 PM

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