The Deep Dive: Poem As Self-Discovery

with Meghan Sterling

The Deep Dive poetry writing course

August 14, 2024
6 Weeks


Zoom calls 7-9 PM Eastern

$445.00Enroll Now

I came to explore the wreck.
The words are purposes.
The words are maps.
I came to see the damage that was done
and the treasures that prevail.

—Adrienne Rich, Diving into the Wreck

There are truths that exist only below the surface, ones we discover when we unearth things that we have experienced, that have changed us. There is power in capturing these truths, and in owning our stories. In this 6 week workshop, we will be writing poetry about things that exist below the surface—memory, desire, family, love, secrets, dreams, wishes, disappointments, heartaches. Often, it is through writing that we discover, as Adrienne Rich writes, the treasures that prevail.

Through writing prompts, reading, and kind, loving feedback, we will be working together to generate fresh poetry that explores the depths of what it is to be human feeling grief and joy, hope and powerlessness, how to take back our power over painful events through writing poetry, and learning poetic techniques such as anaphora, epistrophe, poetic juxtaposition, and a fresh approach to imagery for mining the riches of our lives.

Who This Course is For:

This workshop is for poets at any stage of their writing—beginner, intermediate or advanced—looking to deepen the scope of their writing practice and for a safe, inclusive community to explore the power of vulnerability in their poetry. 

Learning Goals

In this course, you will:

  • Gain new skills to employ in your writing practice.
  • Acquire a fresh set of prompts and ideas to inspire your craft.
  • Get comfortable trying new things while expressing yourself in poetry in a supportive and safe environment.
  • Establish a regular writing schedule to keep generating and exploring new work.
  • Expand tried and true craft methods and branch out into exploring new ways to tell your truths.
  • Receive advice on which journals to submit to and send your work out into the world!

Writing Goals

In this course, you will:

  • Develop a fresh practice to look deeper into the self for inspiration. 
  • Write at 5-10 new poems, at least 1-3 per week.

Weekly Zoom Schedule

We’ll meet on Zoom once a week, from 7 PM to 9 PM Eastern on Wednesdays.

Class Syllabus

Week 1: Self-Portraits

We will be looking at exploring our relationship to ourselves, focusing on imagery, learning new ways to look at ourselves within and without, inspired by Chen Chen’s poem, “Self Portrait as So Much Potential,” and Meghan Sterling’s “Self-Portrait with Quilt and Synesthesia,” we will be writing our own Self-Portrait Poems.

Assignment: Self Portrait Poem 14-25 lines in length and reading fellow student work before the first class.

Week 2: Sleep and Dreams

We will be focusing on structuring our poems around our sleep and our dreams. We will use anaphora and epistrophe to help us do so. We will be looking at examples by Edward Hirsch and Sharon Olds. We will write, “In the dream…” poems.

Assignment: Write a poem about sleeping and/or dreaming that employs both anaphora and epistrophe 3 times each—14-25 lines in length. Student work reading.

Week 3: Prayer

We will be focusing on poetry as prayer, hope, wish, praise, looking at “Prayer for My Unborn Niece” by Ross Gay and “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Assignment: Write a 20-30 line poem that begins with the line, “Every poem is a prayer.” Student work reading.

Week 4: Memory

We will be looking at our childhood memories and new ways of telling them, trying out a list poem by looking at Danez Smith’s “alternate names for black boys” and lyric poems by looking at “The Dead” by Susan Mitchell.

Assignment: Write a list poem about childhood joys/sorrows and a 14-line poem about your memory of going to bed as a child. Student work reading.

Week 5: Celebration and Grief

We will be looking at ways to celebrate and grieve experiences in our lives (sickness, loss, growth, milestones) through our poetry. Looking at “Untitled” by Jason Schinder and “The Wild iris” by Louise Gluck.

Assignment: Write a 14-line poem about the last time you saw something stunningly beautiful. Then write a 14 line poem about the last time you saw something terribly sad. Can you weave these poems together? Student work reading.

Week 6: Snapshot/Still Life Poems

We will be writing Snapshot poems, or “Still Life” poems—a poem that holds an image in its center. We will look at examples by Diane Seuss, Susan Rich, and Meghan Sterling. We will write the poem together and share as a class. We will also discuss journals to send work to.

$445.00Enroll Now

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Student Feedback for Meghan Sterling:

I really enjoyed Meghan’s class. It saved me countless hours of bewilderment, frustration and disillusionment. Grace Martin

Excellent workshop. Meghan’s knowledge and enthusiasm in sharing it made what could have been a very dry topic enjoyable and exciting. Greg Garner

Exactly what I needed right now. Taking this class has been like being a small single-engine plane wandering aimlessly around the tarmac and, in the blink of an eye, finding the runway. Maybe it’s your first solo flight. But if you want to fly, you need to gather your courage and dash down that strip of concrete until your wheels lift off the ground. Janet McKenzie

This was an excellent workshop. Meghan’s energy and commitment to the process was GREAT! I’d take a workshop with her again! Ann Matzke

“Meghan is a vibrant, knowledgeable, forward-thinking poet who is as excited about helping other poets reach their potential as she is serious about her own work. I’ve had the pleasure of two workshops with Meghan which have advanced my ability and confidence in writing, as a craft and a source of inspiration.” Mary Stewart

“I was very pleased with what I gained from Meghan’s workshop (via Zoom) this winter. As a former English teacher I really appreciated the clear course structure and her flexibility in responding to participants’ requests. She also handed out a lengthy course syllabus quite a while before the course started.There were excellent opportunities for writing, reading work by recognized poets and sharing our own work for feedback. I know I gained a lot more fluency writing using prompts and giving feedback to others’ work. She is both a fine poet herself and an excellent teacher of the art/discipline of poetry.” Lucia Owen

August 14, 2024
6 Weeks


Zoom calls 7-9 PM Eastern

$445.00Enroll Now

Meghan Sterling


Meghan Sterling’s work has been published or is forthcoming in The Los Angeles Review, Rhino Poetry, Nelle, Colorado Review, Rattle, and many others, and has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes. Her debut poetry collection, These Few Seeds (Terrapin Books), came out in 2021 and was a Finalist for the Eric Hoffer Grand Prize in Poetry. Her chapbook, Self-Portrait with Ghosts of the Diaspora (Harbor Editions) her collection, Comfort the Mourners (Everybody Press) and her collection, View from a Borrowed Field, which won Lily Poetry Review’s Paul Nemser Book Prize, are all forthcoming in 2023. She is program director at Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance and teaches poetry workshops. Read her work at