Graduate Poetry Workshop: Introduction to Contemporary Poetry & Its Production


This course will be a reading and writing workshop, designed to introduce students to a wide range of poetries current in North America and the Pacific. The readings will include work that engages race, the environment, place, and local histories. Methods of writing will include documentary poetry, Language writing, lyric, and prose poetry. We will talk about craft in the context of content, or the problem of writing poetry in the early 21st century.


Students will make one oral presentation on a poet included in one of the anthologies; they will write a short review of a book not included on this list (this can be by someone whose work is included in an anthology), and compose weekly poems and responses to the reading. The final project will be a chapbook that includes poems written and revised during the semester. Students will perform those poems in public somewhere at the end of the semester.


We will also talk about issues of publication (including the oft-neglected question of how to become a publisher) and about the advantages and disadvantages of writing poetry within an institutional framework.


For the most part, however, this will be a generative workshop. Students will be asked to write a lot, especially during the first half of the semester, and then to work toward a final project that brings together the strengths discovered earlier on.





–Students will become well-versed (as it were) in a wide range of contemporary American poetry, thinking about its concerns as well as its forms;


–Students will refine their abilities to generate and then to refine their creative work;


–Students will work toward a final chapbook length project, using each other and the professor’s comments to refine their work.




–To respond to the readings on a blog each week, and to come prepared to talk about the readings;


–To write a significant amount of poetry each week, for at least the first half of the course, when our attention will turn to refining and self-publishing the work;


–To lead at least one workshop during the course of the semester;


–To present an oral report on a poet not included on the reading list.



Reading List:


Aldon Lynn Nielsen & Lauri Ramey, What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Writers in America. U of Alabama P, 2015.


Joshua Corey & G.C. Waldrep, The Arcadia Project. Ahsahta Press, 2012.


Lisa Samuels & Sawako Nakayasu, A TransPacific Poetics Anthology. Litmus Press, 2017.


Donovan Kuhio Colleps, Proposed Additions, 2014, Tinfish Press.