Workshop: Poetry (CW)

Ezra Pound urged writers
to “make it new”; this course, however, will urge you to “make
it now.”

To understand 21st
century poetics, we will read and discuss award-winning books, “Bestselling”
poets, trendy avant-garde movements, and the hottest new writers. We will ask:
Why did that poet win a major award? What makes that poet a bestseller? Why is
everyone talking about that poetry book? Why does that poet think he/she is
more 21st century than everybody else? We will also read critical
essays that address the idea of contemporaneity (the “now” part of
the course).

In addition to our close
readings, we will create, workshop, and revise new poems through writing
exercises based on our weekly readings. A final portfolio of at least ten
completed poems will be required (the “make it” part of the course).
Throughout the writing process, we will explore how our own work fits into the
contemporary moment and contributes to defining a 21st century

To complement the seminar
and workshop components of this course, there will also be a
professionalization component through which you will gain the practical skills
you will need to “make it” as a poet. We will familiarize ourselves
with the publishing landscape, poetry contest system, residency opportunities,
and performance venues.

For your mid-term exam,
you will be required to design and execute a community-engaged poetry activity.
Your final exam will be a public performance of your poetry.


  1. Complete
    creative writing exercises/prompts based on our readings.
  2. Three book
    reviews (1000 words each) of three required texts.
  3. Final
  4. Interview one
    poet that we read in class.
  5. Submit book
    reviews and poems to literary journals and poetry contests.
  6. Mid-term and
    Final exam.

Required Texts:

C.D. Wright One With Others (winner of the 2010 NBCC

Terrance Hayes Lighthead (winner of the 2010 National
Book Award)

Armantrout Versed(winner of the 2010
Pulitzer Prize)

Bitsui Flood Song (American Book
Award 2010 and Pen Open Book Award)

J. Michael Martinez Heredities (Walt Whitman Award 2009)

Rusty Morrison The True Keeps Calm Biding Its Story
(James Laughlin Award 2008)

Douglas Kearney, The Black Automaton (National Poetry
Series Selection, 2009)

Don Mee Choi, The Morning News Is Exciting (Whiting
Writers Award, 2011)