Section 1: Tuesday and Thursday 2:00-3:15 PM
Professor: Katy Didden
For those who have taken introductory creative writing workshops, much of this course will be familiar. For instance, we will still return to basic questions such as: What is poetry? How do we shape poems out of our emotions, ideas, and experiences? What is the use of poetic devices such as rhyme, meter, and figurative language? We will also work with a combination of assignments and exercises, just as you might have done in an introductory workshop. Two things in the advanced workshop will be different. First, I have chosen assignments that I believe are more challenging than those I give to “intro” students. As I see it, being a poet means mastering word work—to me, mastery comes from developing your ear for rhyme and rhythm, building your vocabulary, and above all, from reading other writers with great attention. These assignments are designed to introduce you to a variety of trends in contemporary poetry. We will also trace these trends back to longstanding poetic traditions.
For the first half of the semester, our assignments will correspond to class readings (either from our textbook, or from any one of the contemporary collections we will be reading together). For the second half of the semester, you will have more autonomy, as you study the work of a model poet over the course of several weeks. In this “poetry apprenticeship,” you will engage in a deep dialogue with that poet, and immerse yourself in his/ her/ their cadences and poetry techniques. Students will write several response papers, offer thorough critiques on the work of their peers, and submit a portfolio of poems this semester. Students will also give a presentation in which they introduce the work of their model poet to the class.