Iconoclast: Reimagining the Line Break
with Shankar Narayan
The line break is the poet’s Swiss Army tool. Conventional wisdom blesses and outlaws many line break moves—but is it right? We’ll take a deep dive into line breaks, not so much to determine the right way to do them—there isn’t one—but to reimagine together the choices poets have in deploying them. Writers will leave with an expanded sense of creative possibilities and the shards of a few crumbled line break myths. Bring three existing pieces and an open mind.
This course will meet from 1-3:30 P.M. U.S. Eastern Time on Saturday, February 25th, and Sunday, February 26th.
We’ll start with first principles, deconstructing what we think we know about line breaks and building theories, philosophies, and possibilities of line breaks from the ground up. We’ll challenge and pressure test line break orthodoxy head-on, examining a diverse set of source poems, and working on rebreaking our own pieces as well as those of others.
Returning to class with our rebroken pieces, we’ll continue to build our evolving line break philosophies, working as a collective to broaden our pool of ideas around what line breaks can do. We’ll leave with plenty of hands-on practice, comparing and contrasting the ways in which various line break deployments can alter the impact of a piece.
Student Feedback for Shankar Narayan:
Shankar Narayan is a good teacher. He is knowledgeable about the subject and provided us with appropriate instruction and examples. I would take another one of his classes.