E 325 • Creative Writing: Poetry
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
In this course, we will consider what makes poetry, as the poet Mina Loy once wrote, "prose bewitched: a musical score, hundreds of sounds, words, images, things coming together at the right moment." We will discuss what makes a poem tick, why certain poems move us (and others don't), and how, as a beginning poet, you approach writing one. After covering some fundamental elements of craft (line, image, music, etc.), students will write poems based on weekly prompts and in-class writing exercises, submitting them for class discussion and critique. We will also spend time each session considering the work of distinguished contemporary poets, using their poetry to frame our discussions of craft. By the end of the semester, you will leave with a small body of your own poetry, a deeper understanding of poetry and poetics, and a growing sense of your own voice, aesthetic interests, and technical strengths.
You will complete a series of in-class writing exercises (often commenting on the results in written form) designed to enhance your understanding of formal elements such as line breaks, rhythm, image, and syntactic patterns, etc. You will also be expected to read each other's work carefully, and to be prepared to discuss the poems in class. You are expected to write comments on each person's poem; these critiqued poems will be returned to the writer as a resource for revision. I will occasionally collect and evaluate your written feedback.Other requirements of the course include: all students must attend a minimum of two literary readings over the course of the term and submit a brief one-page response paper for each one; an anthology of 20 favorite poems along with an introduction (2-3 pages) that explains your interest in these poems; memorize and recite a poem (14 line minimum); a final manuscript with a minimum of five revised poems (along with the original drafts) as well as a short essay (2-3 pages) summarizing your overall creative project (including a self-evaluation of your poetic development and an articulation of your revision strategies).
In-class participation 30%
Homework (poems, recitation and other exercises) 30%
Final Manuscript (drafts, essay, final revisions) 30%
Poulin Jr., A., and Michael Waters, eds. Contemporary American Poetry (eighth edition). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001.