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POET 11 W — Tuning Our Ears: A Poetry Workshop

Quarter: Spring
Course Format: Flex Online (About Formats)
Duration: 10 weeks
Date(s): Mar 29—Jun 4
Refund Deadline: Apr 1
Units: 3
Tuition: $910
Instructor(s): Esther Lin
Limit: 20
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Flex Online(About Formats)
Mar 29—Jun 4
10 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 1
3 Units
Esther Lin
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
How do you start a poem? What finds you first: the image, the sound of a phrase, or something else? All writers have a poetic ear: one that is tuned to what they find beautiful, bold, and truthful. In this poetry course, we will discover what this means to each student and how they can sharpen that sense. We will spend the first few weeks forming good writerly habits through creative exercises inspired by prompts and discussion of process. We will become more sensitive readers of poems by such contemporary masters as Louise Glück, Henri Cole, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Robin Coste Lewis, each with distinctly different poetic ears of their own. We will study the decisions these poets make from poem to poem, like how the speaker’s voice controls the movements in Glück’s poetry, whereas the juxtaposition of images, rather than voice, guides the reader in Cole’s. Students will write five poems, which the class will respond to constructively in a workshop format. By the end of the course, students should have developed a poetic ear sensitive enough to evaluate their own work and go forward writing confidently on their own.

This course is a safe platform for new, curious writers to explore poetry and also appropriate for students wishing to deepen their practice.

Esther Lin, Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Esther Lin was a 2020 Writing Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She is the author of The Ghost Wife and received the Crab Orchard Review’s 2018 Richard Peterson Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Gulf Coast, Hyperallergic, the New England Review, Pleiades, Ploughshares, and elsewhere.

Textbooks for this course:

(Required) Henri Cole, Middle Earth (ISBN 9781466877764)
(Required) Natasha Trethewey, Thrall: Poems (ISBN 9780544586208)
(Required) Yusef Komunyakaa, Dien Cai Dau (ISBN 9780819511645)
(Required) Louise Glück, First Four Books of Poems (ISBN 9780880014779)