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POET 26 W — Poems with Legs: Ten Weeks of Muscular Writing

Quarter: Summer
Course Format: Online course (System Requirements)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Jun 26—Sep 1
Drop Deadline: Jul 4
Units: 3
Tuition: $850
Instructor(s): Kirsten Andersen
Limit: 17
Jun 26—Sep 1
10 weeks
Drop By
Jul 4
3 Units
Kirsten Andersen
Poetry is a genre marked by its special intensity. Great feeling is contained within the fourteen lines of a sonnet; a haiku’s three lines can frame an entire world; free verse is often a home for contemporary concerns paired with lyric intention and rhythm. Maya Angelou’s iconic poem “Still I Rise” includes the lines: “You may shoot me with your words, / You may cut me with your eyes, /… / But still, like air, I’ll rise.” These strong lines do not stand alone in poetry’s contemporary canon. Rather, today’s poems embody a distinct candor that is a far cry from traditional love, beauty, and decoration. Much of contemporary poetry is thematically muscular. It has legs. It trains its eyes on the physical world and insists on a direct address. This course will encourage beginning and advanced poets alike to draft work in this contemporary tradition. Students will receive weekly writing prompts and draft at least eight new poems. Initially modeling on existing poems, students will be invited to draft poems entirely of their own creation in later weeks.

Although the time commitment for an online writing course is dependent upon one’s degree of participation, students should plan on investing four to six hours per week in order to gain substantial benefit from the course.

Kirsten Andersen, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Kirsten Andersen is the author of Family Court, a 2016 chapbook published by Q Avenue Press. Her writing has appeared in The Literary Review, Canteen Magazine, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Believer. A Pushcart Prize nominee and National Poetry Series finalist, Andersen has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Stanford. She received an MFA in creative writing from NYU.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) David Lehman, Best American Poetry 2016 (ISBN 150112756X)
(Required) Dana Gioia, Can Poetry Matter?, 10th Anniversary Edition (ISBN 978-1555973704)