June 17, 2020
$250 | 4 Weeks
No experience is too small or mundane to serve as a foundation for extraordinary poetry and short fiction. In this four-week workshop, we’ll employ all the scraps of life experience—journals, photos, remembered conversations—whatever you’ve stored up that needs to make its way into your writing. We’ll let emotion guide us to the best possible form, while listening for rhythm, encouraging humor, and paying careful attention to image as it influences, colors and serves as an emotional placeholder in your work.
In this class, students will:
- Write and workshop four pieces.
- Use prompts to transform experiences and memories into fresh, new writing.
- Write with no pre-conceived idea of genre. In this workshop, you’ll let the language lead you to the final form.
- Find new ways to source language that will enrich and freshen your work.
- Note: All levels are welcome.
Ordinary to Extraordinary Writing Class: Syllabus
Week 1: A Road Map & Remembrance
You’ll look at narrative and confessional poets and short fiction writers who can turn a simple chore into writing that’s rich with meaning.
The writing assignment will focus on different eras in our lives, and how to use them to jump-start your work.
Week 2: Dear John
“Epistles,” or letters, go back as far as the Roman Empire, and are used by contemporary poets and fiction writers too.
In week two, you’ll exploit the immediacy and intimacy of the Dear John, address as a way to console, accuse, persuade—wherever emotion takes you.
Week 3: Take me There
Have you had enough of your home? Sick of the view outside your window?
In week three, we’ll break out of our forced isolation rut to write poems of place—not staying in place, unless you want to explore that, but places we remember, places we regret being, places we yearn for.
Week 4: Dream On
Dreams are really visual poems that tell us about ourselves in new ways. There’s no controlling them. No do-overs. No making sense of them as they unfold, which make them fertile ground for pruning.
In our final week, we’ll plumb your sleeping and waking dreams, and amp up their weirdness by using unusual, unexpected forms.
Bonus Unit: On Publishing
Sourcing publications to help you find a good fit for your work, what to include and not include in your cover letter, and how to write a bio (no, it’s not a resume) will be discussed.
Student Feedback for Instructor Tina Barry
I've taken several online courses with Tina Barry, and she is by far one of the best poetry teachers I've had—online or elsewhere. The assigned readings for each lesson were stimulating and varied, and her prompts inspired some of my best poems. She was quick to respond with insightful, clarifying and concise edits and comments - her ability to read the poems on many levels deepened my understanding of my own work. She has an exquisite ear for language and the musicality of a line, and craft-wise, her thoughtful feedback not only helped me to improve the poems I submitted to the workshop but also carried over to the way I continue to write and re-write my poems. Elizabeth Burk
Too many workshops are led by poets who know how to publish, but cannot teach or lead. Tina Barry does all of the above brilliantly, giving lesser beings hope that their words matter, because they matter so much to her. She refuses to be boring, and presses you—no, dares you—not to be either. Pamela Brown
A workshop with Tina Barry has always been a memorable and valuable investment in my writing life. The depth of Tina's preparation is evident from the start. Throughout the workshops, Tina stays in contact with every participant with excellent and challenging critiques and comments. I have never been disappointed. CR Green
What makes Tina stands out as a teacher, my teacher last year, is her capacity to combine deep knowledge of form, craft, and an eye for pointing to what may make your poems better. During the class I took with her, I benefited as much by the keen comments she offered to the other students, as her comments on my poems. It was an education in itself. Her commitment to her students is as deep as her commitment to teaching excellence. Tina is an avid listener to your words, respecting and pushing you to your best work. Juan Mobili
I have taken several classes from Tina Barry and found them stimulating and exciting. They are of the highest caliber, for she encourages us to look at new ways of writing, examining ourselves and translating thoughts into poetry. I have saved her lessons, which have encouraged me to continue my quest for becoming a better poet and writer. Her comments have always been thorough, considerate, encouraging and complete. I continue to seek her out because of her expertise. Elizabeth Kirkpatrick-Vrenios, Professor Emerita, American University
I enjoyed Tina's classes and found that her excellent insights and group leadership skills combined to give me new themes and knowledge for writing. She is always available for an immediate response to students' questions and observations. I really like her flexibility in encouraging independent, differing writing styles. Karen Waldron