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Not Without Your Laughter: An Online Humor Poetry Workshop with celeste doaks


  • 8-week on-line workshop

  • Begins May 27, 2019

  • Registration $250 per person

  • Limited to 12 participants

  • Each participant will workshop one poem per week

What is Humor Poetry all about?

In this course we learn how to write poems that make people laugh out loud. In order to understand humor in poetry, we need examples. Therefore, will examine humorous poems from both modern and contemporary times. We will read writers that include, but are not limited to, June Jordan, Frank O’hara, Billy Collins, Lucille Clifton, Aaron Smith, Tim Seibles, Shel Silverstein, and Michelle Tea. These writers, as well as your instructor, will show us tools and techniques to approaching humor poetry. Part of this class includes investigating how humor works both theoretically and in practicality. Then, we will use these tools to craft our own poems. This class takes its cue from Langston Hughes’s Not Without Laughter, which discusses laughter as one way to overcome pain. While many may think poetry is ideal for expressing life’s heartaches, impressive poetry can also employ humor.

How will our workshop work?

Each week I will provide a prompt, mainly based on what we’ve read that week, which expects you to engage with a particular craft technique. During class we will also use social media outlets such as YouTube, blogs, Twitter and Instagram as spaces to witness humor in poetry. Reading and writing are both focal points of this class. I will provide individual feedback on each poem, as well as assistance on how to expand and elevate your work. At the end of this course you will have a suite of poems that have been read and inspired by an encouraging group of fellow writers. So be sure to bring your wit and whimsy as we investigate what makes readers lol! And we will learn, as Kim Addonizio says in Ordinary Genius, to “Lighten up. For a minute, play. Stop being politically correct. Question morals, question authority, question everything you’ve been taught.”

Who is celeste doaks?


Poet and journalist celeste doaks is the author of Cornrows and Cornfields (Wrecking Ball Press, UK, 2015). She is also the editor of, and contributor in, the poetry anthology Not Without Our Laughter: Poems of Humor, Joy, and Sexuality (Mason Jar Press, 2017). Cornrows was chosen as one of the “Ten Best Books of 2015” by Beltway Quarterly Poetry. Her journalism has appeared n Huffington Post, Village Voice, Time Out New York, and QBR (Quarterly Black Book Review). She is Pushcart Prize nominee and her poems have been published in multiple on-line and print publications such as The Rumpus, Chicago Quarterly Review, Asheville Poetry Review, Bayou Magazine and most recently in Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump’s America. In 2017, she was the recipient of a Rubys Literary Arts Grant. Doaks received her MFA from North Carolina State University and is University of Delaware’s Visiting Assistant Professor in Creative Writing for 2017-2020. In her very spare time she enjoys co-hosting the literary podcast Lit!Pop!Bang! For more visit

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I learned that poetry doesn’t have to be stuffy and boring...Writing humor poetry is super easy, too, once you loosen up and let your creative side take control. You’ll make someone laugh, guaranteed
— Fall 2018 humor poetry student, Abigail Hunter

Online Reviews of Not Without Our Laughter

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The Triangle Newspaper

Line + Stars

Queen Mobs Teahouse

Baltimore City Paper

Online Reviews of Cornrows and Cornfields

Sabotage Reviews, UK

Cultural Front

Read some of my work online

A suite of 5 poems at Beltway Poetry Quarterly

“American Herstory”at Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database

“Night Thoughts or the Place the Blood Stopped” at The

“Not Our Country” at Baltimore Style Magazine

“The Relation  of Gwendolyn Brooks’ Formal Choices to the Life Choices of Her Characters” at Literary Matters


Refund Policy

Since spots are limited to 12, we need to be kind of strict about cancellations and refunds. Here’s the deal:

You can cancel and receive a full refund up to two weeks before the workshop start date.

After that, we’re locked in and can’t provide a refund.

Sign Up!

Later Event: June 20
Writer Camp 1