August 4, 2015
$315 | 8 Weeks
Psychologists and analysts seek to interpret our nighttime dreams by applying meanings to various symbols. The psychiatrist tells us to dissect our dreams to reveal what they may mean to our waking life. But the same methods cannot be applied to a daydream. Dreams create a narrative and a plot, and set time in motion. Setting time in motion is exactly the opposite of what a daydream does. Our job, if we want to engage in a daydream, is to slow time down, to focus on particular objects or ideas and to interrupt the willful progression of narrative and plot.
The experience of a daydream is more akin to having succumbed to the immensity of a thought. Immense thoughts can be triggered by the flight of a honeybee hovering at the edge of a garden or by the metaphorical action of a poem. For our purposes, such a thought is when the reader begins to engage in his or her own history – whether it be a recollection, reflection, or recovering a buried memory. When the reader’s mind begins to wander through the reader’s life, this material is added to the subject of the poem. The task for us, as poets in a poetry workshop, is to find triggers for the reader and to guide, purposefully, our readers into this experience of a daydream.
To write a poem this way forces us to forget old ideas about sharing our own experiences, or relating our thoughts about events and people. Our task becomes one of making sure the reader has the experience of a daydream. To do so means that we, as poets, lose control over all the possible meanings that a poem can have for a reader; however, we will gain control over learning to write in such a way that we guide our readers into their own lives. It is in through this experience for the reader that our poems may potentially become memorable.
This is an advanced class and not best for those just starting to write poetry.
Participants will test new techniques regarding progression, pacing, concreteness of imagery, and integrity of the line, along with considerations of length and duration, and will begin to see how – through the use of techniques based on concentration and interruption, and revision strategies – poems begin to find their subject and come into focus. Techniques used in this class attempt to reaffirm the notion that poetry is a “process,” and that the act of revision is essential to a successful poem. This course will also:
- Direct toward sensory imagery based on real-world objects and observation. Students will collect the language for their poems from objects in their daily lives and bring that language into their poems. From this language the subjects of poems often emerge.
- Introduce students to the idea that a poem’s “real” subject may not be the subject that inspired it, or the subject for whom the poem was originally “about.” Students will apply Richard Hugo’s idea that each poem has two subjects: the triggering subject (that which inspired it) and the real subject (that which the poem is about).
- Introduce concepts of metaphor-making as avenues toward daydream: creating metaphors using descriptions of the human body, the house, the nest, the shell (spaces that provide human places in which to dwell. The course touches upon the ideas of Gaston Bachelard whose work provides insights into how concrete objects in our lives often have deep psychological significance called archetypes and how we can take advantage of archetypes to help our readers bring their experience into a poem.
- Introduce concepts of writing a poetry of opposites, describing, for example, an enormous object via a miniature object, or vice versa
Week 1: Introduction to class and a review of aesthetics.
Week 2: New poem. Rethink old strategies; break habits that aren’t working.
Week 3: Elements of sound and line. Do the effects add or detract from the poem?
Week 4: Make metaphorical analogy using the human body.
Week 5: Use objects to disrupt and pause a poem held together with narrative, syntax, or a repetitive rhetorical device.
Week 6: We will take the remainder of the course putting into practice Bachelard’s ideas, discussing his notions about the development of metaphorical images and his ideas that a poem’s “effect” is to draw the reader into the world of daydreaming.
Week 7: Examine the concepts of nook, nest, and shell; wetness/dryness; miniature/large.
Week 8: What is your aesthetic now? Your final exam is to revise your original Statement of Aesthetics. In what way(s) has the course allowed you to reexamine your aesthetical principles? Have some of your ideas been reinforced? Have you abandoned any old ideas for new ones?
Excellent. Well-organized, thorough, thoughtful. Bob is an outstanding mentor/teacher. I credit him with two recent publications of work I began/revised in his Daydreams I class… Nancy Flynn
Thanks for offering this class with Bob again. I’ve taken it twice, and would do it again. It was absolutely helpful. I am very grateful for the experience and care and thought that he puts into this… Becky Ellis
Bob was one of the most enthusiastic and energetic teachers I have worked with. He spent a ton of time on the course — not just in the lessons, but in corresponding personally with each one of us. His critiquing was insightful and thorough, and he was very sensitive about the writer’s feelings when giving suggestions for revision… Amy Carden Suardi
At first, I wasn’t sure what to think (because I was so used to being in a class where everyone said everything was wonderful and everything we wrote was somehow wonderful). Bob’s comments were honest and forced me to reach outside the poem for something more. What’s amazing to me is that he challenged me in a way that didn’t cause me to feel like quitting (exactly the opposite)! I’m figuring out what makesa poem work for me and why. Believe it or not that’s incredibly important… What can I say? But, THANKS so much!… Cyndy Krey
Bob Haynes thinks and responds deeply about poetry and about his students’ work. He brings structure to his classes through his own understanding and beliefs about poetry but creates a flexible space within the structure that honors each students own aesthetic. Both of Bob’s classes have created fertile ground for new growth in my writing… Lisa McCool-Grime
Bob is a fine instructor and goes to a lot of trouble for his classes and the students. He is generous, caring and enthusiastic for all of his students. We and you are lucky to have him. I have learned so much from Bob… Peggy Hill
The class was a real stretch for me, and I discovered many new muscles, but I’m very glad I took it and I am amazed at the poetry I produced. As I said earlier, this one is a keeper… Mary Ann Payne
The class was excellent; Bob made us write and think and write and then think even more. An excellent experience for me, and I’ve been teaching now for 35 years… John Ranahan
The class content is exceptional. The lessons and assignments are very well planned and give the student a seamless, in-depth learning experience. Mr. Haynes is a true master! He goes the ‘extra mile’ with each student by thoroughly answering each question placed before him by his students. This is coupled, always, with the gift of necessary encouragement all students need during their discovery of a new process… I’ve been telling EVERYONE I know about this class! If your other classes are of this caliber, the internet student of writing is blessed to have you here!.. Susan Allen
The reading assignments were pertinent, helpful and increasingly challenging. Bob added to those assignments with his own text, which was helpful to me in applying the readings to the poetry assignments. The poetry assignments were, of course, my favorite: every new exercise Bob gave us is an exercise that I plan to continue using in my own practice– very helpful… Bob provided a challenging course with gentle, supportive, consistent and timely feedback. It was my impression that the entire class, including myself, was very enamored with Bob’s teaching abilities and the environment he provided for our growth. I would definitely recommend this course to any friend who has experience with poetry! I am quite sure that when I have the time and finances available I will be taking another course on writers.com… Thank you, again, Bob! Your course has made a significant impact on my writing and reading of poetry!… Lisa McCool
The “How poems work” class with Bob Haynes was phenomenal! Bob Haynes is a sensitive & caring instructor who knows how to present the finer elements/techniques of poetry in a way beginners & advanced students can learn from and appreciate. I learned a great deal from his clever methods of teaching poetry – never a dull moment! And I continue to reap the benefit of taking this course with him even now – a day doesn’t pass when I don’t use some suggestion of his in my writing. The lessons I learned from Bob will shape my use of poetry & language in the years to come, I’m certain… Bob Haynes went above & beyond the call of duty in this class by always, without fail, offering constructive critique & insightful observations about student work. He is a teacher who cares so much about his students – he was totally accessible and answered emails fast! During the class, he was a great mentor,poet and teacher of inspiration! Truly!… I loved his class! Please somehow figure out a way to have him teach another!.. Arlene Tribbia