Creative Writing: Poetry

This was a well-done class with a very thoughtful, and super helpful, instructor. I just wish that I enjoyed it more. Even though I did well in terms of my grades, it was a struggle for me to truly understand many of the concepts that we covered. It was a slog. I got through it and was exposed to some fantastic writers but this wasn’t an easy class (for me).

Here’s what we went over during the twelve weeks.

Week 1 – “Prose vs. Poetry”, Sep 26th – Oct 2nd
Introduction, Meet and Greet, Prose: Phrase Lengths, Exercise 1.1: Creating an Effect with Sentence Lengths, Sentence Constructions: Simple Sentences, Compound Sentences, Complex Sentences, Quiz 1.1: Sentence Types, Exercise 1.2: Mixing Sentence Constructions, Sentence Types, Exercise 1.3: Sentence Types, Poetry, Exercise: End-Stops, Phrases, Exercise: End-Stops and Enjambments, Lines with Multiple Phrases, Exercise: Musical Notations, Units of Composition, Prosody, Discussion 1.1: Prosody, Assignment 1: Prose, Recap

Week 2 – “Managing End-Stops”, Oct 1st – Oct 7th
Introduction, Creating Subordinate Clauses, Stable and Unstable Groupings, “Days”, Exercise: End-Stops, Instability, Exercise: Student Poetry, Student Poetry Examples, Exercise: End-Stops Revisited, More Student Examples, Exercise: More on End-Stops, Switching Line Order, Discussion 2.1: Achieving Prosody, Assignment 2: End-Stops and Subordinate Clauses, Recap

Week 3 – “Managing Caesuras”, Oct 8th – Oct 14th
Introduction, Caesuras, Frontal, Medial, and Terminal Caesuras, Creating Tension, Caesura Examples, Emerson’s Handling of Caesuras, Creating Motion, Exercise: Marking Caesuras and End-Stops, Exercise: More Marking Caesuras and End-Stops, Exercise: Caesuras and End-Stops, Discussion 3.1: Managing Caesuras, Assignment 3: End-Stops and Caesuras, Recap

Week 4 – “Managing Enjambment”, Oct 15th – Oct 21st
Introduction, Enjambment, Exercise: Enjambment, Moving from Light to Heavy, Other Movement, Exercise: More on Enjambment, Discussion 4.1: Managing Enjambment, Assignment 4: Enjambment, Recap

Week 5 – “Writing in Iambic Pentameter”, Oct 22nd – Oct 28th
Introduction, Stressed and Unstressed Syllables, Workshop: Stressed and Unstressed Syllables, Iambic Pentameter, Blending Languages, Why Pentameter?, English Poetry, Exercise: “Days”, Exercise: Emerson, Groove and Variation, Exercise: “Distractions”, Exercise: “The Woman with Fire Engine Nails”, Discussion 5.1: Learning Your Craft, Assignment 5: Iambic Pentameter, Recap

Week 6 – “Substituting in Iambic Pentameter”, Oct 29th – Nov 4th
Introduction, Substituting in Iambic Pentameter, Exercise: Substitutions, Themes and Variations, Creating Emotion, “After Long Silence”, Substitutions in “After Long Silence”, Discussion 6.1: Going Against Expectations, Assignment 6: Substituting in Iambic Pentameter, Recap

Week 7 – “Writing in Blank Verse”, Nov 5th – Nov 11th
Introduction, Writing in Blank Verse, Exercise: “Birches”, “Ulysses”, Exercise: “Ulysses”, Compositional Tools, Exercise: “Spring”, Exercise: “Christmas Cheer”, Discussion 7.1: Blank Verse, Assignment 7: Blank Verse, Recap

Week 8 – “Blank Verse Again”, Nov 12th – Nov 18th
Introduction, Blank Verse Again, Exercise: Blank Verse and Substitutions, Exercise: “A Wake”, Exercise 8.1: “Still”, Optional Reading: “Swan(s)”, Assignment 8: Blank Verse, Recap

Week 9 – “Using Rhyme”, Nov 19th – Nov 25th
Introduction, Using Rhyme, Sound in Poetry, Rhyme Schemes, Exercise: Rhyme Schemes, Perfect Rhyme, Exercise 9.1: Perfect Rhyme, Consonance Rhyme, Exercise 9.2: Consonance Rhyme, More on Consonance Rhyme, Exercise: Rhyme Schemes Revisited, Exercise: “Ode to the West Wind”, Discussion 9.1: Using Rhyme, Assignment 9: Using Rhyme, Recap

Week 10 – “English (or Shakespearean) Sonnet”, Nov 26th – Dec 2nd
Introduction, English or Shakespearean Sonnet, Sequence, Sonnet 29, Sonnet 73, “When I Have Fears”, Discussion 10.1: English Sonnet, Assignment 10: English Sonnet, Recap

Week 11 – “English Sonnet Continued”, Dec 3rd – Dec 9th
Introduction, Modern Sonnets, “Putting in the Seed”, “Baby Running Barefoot”, Discussion 11.1: Modern Sonnets, Assignment 11: English Sonnets, Recap

Week 12 – “Italian (or Pertrarchian) Sonnet”, Dec 10th – Dec 16th
Introduction, The Italian (or Petrarchian) Sonnet, The First Eight Lines, “In Memoriam”, The Italian Sonnet Road Map, Keats, “Mezzo Cammin”, “Grief”, “Design”, The ccdeed sestet, e. e. cummings, e. e. cummings Variation, Discussion 12.1: Italian Sonnet, Discussion 12.2: The Arts, Assignment 12: Italian Sonnet, Recap