Crafting the Poetry Novel: Advanced Workshop

with Kelly Bingham

advanced poetry novel workshop

This class is perfect for those with a poetry novel manuscript already well underway, OR for writers who have completed “Crafting the Poetry Novel for Young Adults.

Sometimes called Poetry Novels, sometimes called Novels-In-Verse, and sometimes called Free Verse Novels, the poetry novel is a unique, creative way to tell a story. Poetry novels are more popular than ever and span all age groups and genres, including grades three and up, middle grade students, young adult readers, and adult readers. Writing in free verse is both freeing and artistic, and is a form of storytelling that can be applied to fiction, non-fiction, memoirs, romance, adventure, stories of growing up, relationships, historical fiction, stories of loss or grief, and even stories told in multiple points of view.  Poetry Novels have won major awards across the board in literature, including the Printz Award, the Newberry, and the National Book Award.

Examples of great poetry novels include: Brown Girl Dreaming (Jaqueline Woodson), Out of the Dust (Karen Hesse), The Watch That Ends The Night: Voices of the Titanic (Allan Wolf), The Poet X (Elizabeth Acevedo), Ruby Moonlight (Ali Cobby Eckerman), The Black Flamingo (Dean Atta), and Tropical Secrets: Holocaust Refugees in Cuba, (Margarita Engle). These novels encompass biographies, fiction based on true events, historical fiction, and coming-of-age fiction, and are just a sampling of what’s out there for readers of all ages.

Great course, great experience. Highly recommended.
—Meg Eden

Advanced Poetry Novel Workshop: Weekly Schedule

In this five-week workshop-centered course, you will send in 10-15 pages of your novel-in-progress each week. You will receive detailed feedback on your writing, focusing on character, use of poetry, pacing, tension, and poetic devices. That will be the bulk of the course—the accountability of a deadline to motivate you to keep writing, and the weekly exchange of feedback on your work.

In addition, each week, we will have a mini-book-discussion. I will analyze one poetry novel per week, pointing out how the poetry form is maximized, how the author handled character development, tension, plot devices, and narrative devices.  These lectures will be brief—and after each lecture, students are invited to share their thoughts on the book-of-the-week in our classroom forum. (A reading list will be mailed out upon registration.) You are also encouraged to use the classroom forum to build a writers community, and to chat with other writers about the challenges and joys of writing in poetry, ask each other questions, and share any tips, resources, or book recommendations, week to week.

To be clear: this is not an instructional course on how to write the poetry novel. For more information on learning about that, please visit my course: Crafting the Poetry Novel for Young Adults. (That course applies to poetry novels for all ages, but our examples come from poetry novels for young adults.)  This course is a workshop-centered experience for those with a draft of their novel either well underway or completed, who would like feedback on their work week to week, and who would welcome the opportunity to look at a few poetry novels more closely, examining how they are constructed.

Once you enroll in the class, I’ll send you a reading list for our mini-book-discussions. I will also contact you privately to ask about your work in progress, and how comfortable you are in writing week to week without instruction. This check-in is to make sure you’re in the right class and won’t end up disappointed.

If you are ready to dive into weekly writing, progress on your draft, and take your novel to the next level, come join us!

Finish your poetry novel in this writer’s workshop. Reserve your spot today!

Course type:

Student Feedback for Kelly Bingham:

Kelly Bingham is the best teacher I have worked with. She is specific in her critiques. She is kind and patient. Young writers will learn a tremendous amount from Kelly. I feel very blessed to have found her. Wendy Carbo

This course FAR exceeded my expectations. It was my first time taking a writing class and the content of the course helped me to move forward on a project that has been sitting in the back of my mind for years. Kelly was quite simply PHENOMENAL—she was open, responsive, encouraging, and peppered her lively sense of humor through the critiques and lessons. Gwendolyn Robles

This course exceeded my expectations! I'm so glad I found it. Kelly was very generous with her feedback, offering many thoughtful suggestions and comments. Over 6 weeks, I completely restructured my manuscript with Kelly's help, and it is now a much stronger story. I've taken other picture book writing courses, but this course was by far the most helpful. Heather OConnor

I truly appreciated Kelly as a teacher. Her comments and suggestions were extremely helpful. The lessons were very informative and helpful as well. I am so glad I took this course. Ksenia Winnicki

This course was a great step-by-step instruction for someone like me who has never written a book. Kelly was great to work with, very knowledgeable and helpful. Jodi Tormey

Kelly is an excellent teacher. She is encouraging, thoughtful and so inspirational. I felt that she really worked with me on a close personal level, and her feedback was very helpful. The tutorials were very good, with lots of examples and clear key points. Joining this course with Kelly has given me much more confidence as a writer. Kathleen de Mengel

The teacher was very good. Kelly is patient and gave many excellent suggestions. She was also very responsive and thorough. Tobias Vogelstein

The course was well laid out and challenging. Kelly's lecture were well-crafted and packed with useful information. I had a great experience! Michele Noble

Really positive experience. Kelly was a wonderful teacher, with lots of guidance and positivity. Paula McEvenue

Kelly Bingham gave great editing advice, her lessons were chock full of information, and she was very pleasant and encouraging. I know my story is so much better because of this class and Kelly! Joan Jensen

An interesting class. Exceptionally organized. Lots of information and a caring knowledgeable teacher. Kelly ran a class that offered a wealth of knowledge, and was always supportive and willing to offer insights. I enjoyed the class immensely. Ariela Zucker

Kelly Bingham is very encouraging and positive. My writing improved and I received great comments, insight, and feel more confident about my story. Genevieve Bardwell

Great course, great experience–and all for a great price. Highly recommended. Meg Eden

Kelly was terrific as a teacher. Available, open, honest and also caring with her comments and feedback. Kelly was extremely helpful and willing and open to discuss her comments and lessons as well as the books on the reading list. The lessons were presented on time and her feedback by email and in the forums was terrific and timely. The course material was well-organized with many wonderful examples provided for each lesson. And a great reading list. Suzanne Purvis

Kelly is an excellent teacher. Her lectures were fabulous, and her approach was both professional and generous. I felt encouraged and challenged every week, and I have a much better understanding of this genre because of her guidance. Barbara Santucci

Kelly is so obviously an expert in her area. I loved her personable and positive approach to critique and feedback. This is a rigorous writing class. However, that’s what I wanted. I really feel that I gained a lot of insight and skill during this time. I already have recommended these classes to friends. : ) Heather Woodward


Kelly Bingham is the author of two award-winning poetry novels: Shark Girl and Formerly Shark Girl, both published by Candlewick Press. Kelly is also the author of two award-winning picture books: Z Is For Moose and the sequel, Circle, Square, Moose, published by HarperCollins/Greenwillow. Both are illustrated by Caldecott Award-winning artist Paul O. Zelinsky.

Kelly’s YA poetry novel, Shark Girl, was chosen for Oprah’s Book Club for Kids, and was nominated by the American Library Association for Best Book for Young Adults. It won the Iowa Teen Choice Award, and was nominated for the Truman Award, The Schneider Family Book Award, and the Rebecca Caudill Award.

Shark Girl was also nominated for the Golden Sower Award, the Black-Eyed Susan Award, the South Dakota Teen Book Award, and the Florida Book Award. Shark Girl was chosen by School Library Journal as a “quick pick for reluctant readers.”

Formerly Shark Girl, the sequel to Shark Girl, was published in 2013, after years of requests by readers for more of Jane’s story. It earned a starred review in Kirkus and was chosen for Bank Street’s Best Book for Children.

Both of Kelly’s “Moose” picture books have been featured in the New York Times. Z Is For Moose received six starred reviews, was the winner of the Delaware Blue Hen Award, an ALA Notable Book, a Booklist Editor’s Choice for Best Books, winner of a special award from The Horn Book, a Best Book by Shelf Awareness, and winner of the Oppenheim Award. Circle, Square, Moose was named a Best Book by Kirkus, a Bank Street Best Book of the Year, and was nominated for the UKLA Award in Australia.

Kelly holds a master’s degree in writing for children from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Before becoming an author, she spent twelve years as a storyboard artist in the story department at Walt Disney Feature Animation, working on films that include Hercules, Atlantis, The Emperor’s New Groove, Gnomeo and Juliet, and Tarzan.  She lives in Georgia.