May 13, 2020
$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 a virtual writing circle on Zoom every week (usually Saturday). 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 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 our 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 course is for you.
Week One—Establish a Writing Practice
One of the best ways to produce new work is to commit to a regular practice. By joining our writing circle each week, you will strengthen your writing muscles, practice saying no to your internal editor, and form a community for encouragement, inspiration, and support.
Week Two—Sift for Gold
Okay, you have pages of words that flowed from your pen to notebook during our 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 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 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 the ones that are ready to go? In this final week, we will explore these questions.
Zoom Video Class Schedule
Zoom writing circles will be held on:
Saturdays, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Pacific Time.
In the Palm of Your Hand, Second Edition: A Poet’s Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit
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
Susan was lovely and responded in a timely manner. She gave detailed feedback... The content of this class was PERFECT. Lessette F. Altamiranda.
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
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