Description of Class
Maybe you don’t know how to start. Maybe the blank page turns you away. Maybe you’re not even sure how a poem works? Whether you’re new to poetry, wanting to jumpstart your writing, or just looking for a new way to draft, this generative studio course—useful for beginners and experienced writers, poets and novelists and memoirists alike–is for you.
In this class, we’ll go from the blank page to four fully drafted poems. We’ll explore the various shapes, emotional (and intellectual) textures, and tones that poems take, with an eye toward discovering what type of poetry might be for us, even if that poetry serves only to inform our other, prose (even story!) focused writing.
We’ll be combining ideas from improv theater with spontaneous, exploratory prompts and games developed by a range of poets. In this way, we’ll move by instinct and verve to demystify both the drafting process as well as what, and how, a poem can be. The course will focus on writing (not improv performance!) and you’ll receive daily, supportive in-class feedback from course participants as well as light written commentary from the instructor.
One brief reading packet will be distributed before the beginning of class and discussed on the first day. Additional brief readings will be handed out during each class.
Week One – Yes, &…
Using the concept of radical agreement in tandem with “automatic writing” and associative logic, we’ll push beyond writer’s block and self-consciousness (and maybe even self-awareness) to draft poems that move quickly forward from their initial idea, title, or line.
Week Two – The One Word Story
We’ll look at how the building blocks of language itself—from sounds to individual words—can lead to a complete draft.
Week Three – Poetry as Magic & The Impersonal Universe Deck
We’ll turn to improvisation poetic games, looking at how the concept of chance operations and madlibs-style experiment allows for a wild, if not random sense of play to drive our compositions.
Week Four – Location, Location, Location
We’ll return to improv for our final week, using our final game to draft a new poem, but also to discuss where we are in our relationship to poetry overall as well as what’s working—and most importantly, what excites us—in our individual drafts from the course.