Putting It All Together: Completing Your First Poetry Manuscript

with Caitlin Scarano

poetry manuscript writing course

September 21, 2022 | 10 Weeks |

$460.00

Text and Live Video

Join award-winning poet Caitlin Scarano and complete your first full-length poetry manuscript so it is publication-ready! In this course, you will identify and develop the key themes of your manuscript-in-progress, as well as generate and share new work for that manuscript.

Caitlin will guide you through a clear step-by-step process to ordering, structuring, revising, polishing, and formatting your first manuscript of poems. You will learn how to generate title ideas for your manuscript and draft and revise a compelling book description that will help your book sell if it is published. You’ll read at least two poetry collections to determine how they work.

Each week we will meet on Zoom for one hour to discuss that week’s topic and spend time generating new work together using specific prompts. You will also learn how to identify the right presses and contests to submit your manuscript and the right questions to ask if your manuscript is accepted for publication. In addition, we will discuss how to figure out if self-publishing is the right option for your collection.

Please note: this is not a traditional poetry workshop. This course is designed to help you generate new work each week and gain the skills to complete a manuscript. Though you will receive instructor feedback on your manuscript-in-progress, you will not workshop your poems or be required to provide feedback on your peers’ poems. This course is best-suited for writers who have at least 10-15 poems for their potential manuscript and time to generate more (most full-length collections are 48+ poems). That said, anyone who wants to learn how to put together a manuscript of poems is welcome!

By the end of this course, you will have the tools and support needed to complete a full-length collection of poems to submit for publication.

Learning and Writing Goals

Learning Goals

  • Brainstorm and develop clear themes for your manuscript-in-progress
  • Read and analyze at least 2 poetry collections
  • Identify poems in your manuscript most in need of revision
  • Learn techniques for ordering and structuring a collection of poetry
  • Discuss the pros and cons of traditional and self-publishing to figure out what is best for you
  • Gain skills to identify the best presses and contests for your specific manuscript

Writing Goals

  • Through weekly writing prompts, write up to 8 new poems for your manuscript
  • Generate potential titles for your manuscript
  • Draft and polish a compelling book description for your manuscript
  • Complete (or have the tools to complete) a full-length, formatted manuscript of poems ready for submission for publication

Zoom Schedule

This course will meet on Zoom every Thursdays at 6 P.M. Eastern.

Online Manuscript Course Schedule

Week 1: What is a collection of poems? How do they work?

Assignment: Write a new poem and read a collection for Week 2.

Week 2: Reading collection #1

Assignment: Write a new poem and brainstorm on your poetic obsessions/what themes you return to.

Week 3: Identifying and honing your voice, key themes, and style

Assignment: Write a new poem and read a collection for Week 4.

Week 4: Reading collection #2

Assignment: Write a new poem OR revise a poem; print out all potential poems for the manuscript-in-progress (at any draft stage).

Week 5: The art of ordering: identifying gaps, generating new work, and revising

Assignment: Write a new poem OR revise a poem; find at least two publishers or contests you might want to submit your manuscript to for publication.

Week 6: Structuring and formatting your manuscript

Assignment: Write a new poem OR revise a poem; identify a poetry book with a compelling description to share with the class.

Week 7: Titles and book descriptions that sell

Write a new poem OR revise a poem.

Week 8: Traditional vs. self-publishing – what is best for you?

Write a new poem OR revise a poem; find at least two publishers or contests you might want to submit your manuscript to for publication.

Week 9: Finding the right publishers and contests to submit to

Write a new poem OR revise a poem OR ready your manuscript.

Week 10: So your manuscript was accepted for publication…what now?

Questions about the course content? Contact instructor directly.
Learn more about how our courses work here, and contact us with any other questions.

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Student Feedback for Caitlin Scarano:

My writing took a huge leap in strength and clarity as a direct result of Caitlin’s coaching. Her detailed attention and questions challenged me think more deeply and write better. Working with Caitlin is both fun and rewarding. Richard W.

About Caitlin Scarano

Originally from Southside Virginia, Caitlin Scarano (she/they) is a writer based in Bellingham, Washington. They hold a PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Her second full length collection of poems, The Necessity of Wildfire, was selected by Ada Limón as the winner of the Wren Poetry Prize. Caitlin is a member of the Washington Wolf Advisory Group. Find them at caitlinscarano.com