Creative Writing: Intermediate Poetry

ENGL 2530
Section 01
Paul Daniel Lee
Course Description

This course seeks to build on students’ previous knowledge and practice of writing poetry. Students may have a variety of experience with writing and studying poetry, but some basic knowledge of form and composition from students who take the course will be expected. The class seeks to improve students’ knowledge of techniques, forms, and ways to think of contemporary poetry. These craft elements will serve as the central focus for our foray into poetry. This will form a basis for an ongoing and intentional pursuit of writing poems and challenging oneself to experiment with new forms.

We will read a number of books of and on contemporary poetry. These aim to encompass a few trends in approaching poems. Central to this study are the notions of form and lyricism. Contrary to some people’s understanding of contemporary poetry, poems do in fact have a strong sense of rhythm and form, even in free-verse poems. By the end of the course, students should feel less intimidated by techniques of meter and lineation, specifically. This class asks students to look for form and rhythm in seemingly formless contemporary poems. By doing so, we as a class, will become more attuned to the rhythms and forms that we tend towards, even when it is not readily apparent.

As a workshop, students will be expected to create and revise work regularly. Poems will be discussed and commented on by the whole class. Identifying rhythm and form will be central to the workshop discussion. Although we will discuss the intention and effect of the poem, this class aims to enhance these elements through honing craft first.

Additionally, students will begin composing serious imitations of poets and poetical forms. These will help us to gain a more thorough understanding of how poems are composed, revised and thought about. Through making attempts at close imitations, students will identify new techniques for composing and revising, in addition to challenging and rethinking one’s own approaches to writing poems.

In all of the workshops I teach I require consistent informal writing and memorization. These are intended to further students’ writerly practices, so as to set up students for ongoing writing practices beyond the course.