August 11, 2021
$260 | 6 Weeks
When you hit the mute button on your internal editor and let uncensored words flow into your notebook during virtual writing circles, you end up with journals full of raw material. This jungle of words is likely to be full of insights, ah-ha moments, surprises, and memories long forgotten—what better source to uncover new material for poems?
In this class, we will:
- Gather together in two writing circles on Zoom every week (Mondays and Fridays). During each 90-minute circle, we will write as quickly as we can in time bursts (usually 10 to 15 minutes each) in response to creative writing prompts. This process is not only freeing and community building; it is also a way to tap into the untamed mind to find poems just waiting to be written.
- Become familiar with the wonders of Zoom, similar to FaceTime or Skype, only easier! Zoom is the video tech platform we use to connect – you from your spot on the planet, me on mine. All you need is internet, computer, pen and notebook, and a quiet place to write.
- Learn to sift through pages of raw writing to find the snippets that can be turned into poems.
- Write a poem each week in response to assignments throughout the course.
- Share your poetry with each other for feedback.
Whether you’re a seasoned poet looking for a way to deepen your poems, an essayist or free-write enthusiast wanting to try her/his hand at poetry, or anyone looking for an intimate writing community, this poetry writing course is for you.
This course was exactly what I needed! Susan Vespoli is an excellent facilitator; her pacing was perfect; she created the safe space I needed to push my craft. I looked forward to each session, and I found the time in between to be productive because the sessions were so rich. I could not have asked for a better experience. —Sharon Milch
Week One—Establish a Writing Practice
One of the best ways to produce new poetry is to commit to a regular writing practice. By joining our writing circle each week, you will strengthen your creative writing muscles, practice saying no to your internal editor, and form a digital writing community for encouragement, inspiration, and support.
Week Two—Sift for Gold
Okay, you have pages of words that flowed from your pen to your notebook during our creative writing circles. NOW what do you do? In week two, we’ll practice techniques to sift through this rich fodder to find hot lines, images, and scenes that call out to be turned into poems.
Week Three, pt. 1—Become Comfortable with Uncomfortable Feelings
When you infuse your poetry with emotion, both you and your reader will feel it. However, as Steve Kowit (author of our optional textbook) says, “Feeling one’s feelings is not as easy as it sounds.” In the brave space of our writing circles, we will practice letting out our full range of emotions onto the page. Watch how this impacts your writing!
Week Three, pt. 2—Bring Images into Focus
Startling memories/observations/wisdom nuggets are bound to show up as you write wildly into your journal. You’ll see them in your mind’s eye! Now help your reader see/feel/smell/hear/taste them, too, by sharpening the images. In week three, we’ll practice heightening the sensory experience and solidifying the concrete details to make your poem come alive.
Week Four—Swing your Hammer
Just as a carpenter needs a toolbox to build a house, a poet needs the right tools to craft a memorable poem. In week four, we will take a look at incorporating poetic devices such as metaphors, alliteration, assonance, repetition, rhymes, and line breaks in order to strengthen your writing.
Week Five—Take Another Route with Form
Free verse isn’t the only vehicle to transport your ideas from mind to finished poem. In week five, we will experiment with various poetry forms to see which one can take your words and thoughts where they want to go. You might be surprised!
Week Six—To Submit or NOT Submit Your Work
Some poems beg to be shared with the world, while others are of a more private nature that arrive in order to provide insight for you. Which are yours? And where can you publish poems that are ready to go? In this final week, we will explore these questions.
Zoom Video Class Schedule
This online poetry class involves biweekly writing circles that offer support, feedback, and community from fellow poets around the world. The link for the Zoom writing class will be sent to students in advance. Zoom writing circles will be held on:
Mondays and Fridays at 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. Pacific Time.
Please note: this is a third session of the course beginning August 11th. If you enrolled in From Writing Circle to Finished Poem before the date of June 28th, then your course has Zoom sessions scheduled for Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m. Pacific Time and Saturdays at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time. If you enrolled before July 19th, your course has Zoom sessions scheduled for Mondays and Fridays at 3:30 P.M. Pacific Time.
In the Palm of Your Hand, Second Edition: A Poet’s Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit
Learn more about how our courses work here, and contact us with any other questions.
The weekly meets up have been a blessing in these unusual times. I have felt lifted after every session. It's incredible to participate in a creative space that is encouraging and kind. Natalia Evans
Susan's class was a joy. It was well organized and interesting. Susan is a caring and very invested teacher. She was very present all during the class and her feedback was well thought and helpful. Ariela Zucker
This was my first writing circle course; I've been dabbling in poetry for a while now but had not interacted with others in this sort of setting. Susan created a welcoming, open environment for all of the students and chose some terrific poems as prompts. I am now inspired to go to the next level and workshop my poems rather than just writing from prompts. Tom Kerr
Susan is a truly gifted teacher, whose presence and generous spirit create a safe environment in which to write and share freely. I appreciate her openness, the lack of judgement, and her willingness always to share her own writing. Lovely circle! Sarah Putnam
Susan was lovely and responded in a timely manner. She gave detailed feedback... The content of this class was PERFECT. Lessette F. Altamiranda.
Susan brought together a group of strangers from all walks of life and all points on the continent, and under her calm and insightful leadership encouraged us to find our own writing styles, speak our own truths, and support each other as a community. Jennifer Burton
Susan's feedback and promptness were very professional. Her lessons are packed with information and ideas. And, after the class was completed, she kept the site open for additional time to finish assignments, which I greatly appreciated. I look forward to interacting with her in another class! Joan Connor
This was a terrific class. The lessons were well-organized and stimulating. They had excellent "lectures" and plenty of additional resources and ideas. I will be able to refer back to them for inspiration for months. Susan was a thoughtful and resourceful teacher. She was able to nurture an especially lively and collegial relationship among the class, as we discussed the lessons and responded to each other's writing. Please encourage Susan to offer this class again! Marge Osborn
I have taken a number of courses at Writers.com and I have always found the teachers did a good job. My all- time favorite teacher is Susan Vespoli. She did an excellent job of providing readings that set a creative tone and she chose excellent prompts. She assured us that it was not necessary to use what she provided. I appreciated the manner in which she responded to our shares. At no time did I feel that I was taking a risk in reading what I wrote because Susan had created such a safe place. Jane Knox
Taking Susan’s workshop helps me generate tons of ideas for my fiction writing. It also helps me write regularly. I cannot wait to join her next session. Sharon Mirza
The writing circles on Zoom have been my favorite part of this class. Being able to write at scheduled times rather than around the clock really helps me to set writing dates and to write with others. Also, I like the spontaneous nature of the writing on Zoom meetings, and being able to see and hear the other students and the teacher. Noa Granot
This class was amazing! Susan did a fantastic job with the curriculum and with keeping the group moving with discussion and encouragement. Susan created a very safe experience for all of us. She's a fantastic facilitator - providing poems and lines from those poems that somehow really tap into things for me. Andi Reed