On Poetry

I’ve been doing something new this month: writing poetry. Lots of it. This is mostly (well completely) due to the free online class I won from Gotham Writers workshop. Thank you Gotham!

This is how the class works: When you sign up, you are given an ID and a password. You are then able to log in as a student and access what Gotham calls the blackboard. The blackboard is where, each week, the class meets. The teacher posts lectures there, while a frame below allows the class to post questions and engage in discussion. There is also a notebook feature, where you read assignments and submit work to the teacher and a booth feature where you critique the work of others.

I didn’t know much about poetry when I signed up. I don’t think I’d even written a poem since the fifth grade, but I wanted to try something new. I thought, what’s the harm in it? If I write a bunch of bad poems, I’ll just throw them out. Oddly, I think this was the main appeal for me. Because it’s hard to bring yourself around to feeling that way about a novel. You just don’t.

Anyway, the class has been an incredible amount of fun! The other students are friendly and positive. The teacher, Michael Montlack, is  an accomplished poet and a wonderful teacher. I’m about halfway through the class right now (we’re at week 6) and already, I’ve learned so much about poetry and its forms and all the different types of really wonderful poets out there. I’ll save the specifics for another post, but I will say I’m really enjoying Elizabeth Bishop, and I’d only read one or two of her poems before the class began.

How about you? Have you taken an online course? Would you? Have you ever taken poetry?

13 thoughts on “On Poetry

  1. Oh, I love that you are getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new! I can’t wait to hear more. How has this class informed your prose or altered your use of language? I have never taken a poetry class OR an online class, but now I think I’d like to take both!

    • Yes, I think that it has effected my prose. It’s causing me to question word choice more, and I’ve noticed myself looking at paragraphs in a more visual way, the way you would look at the layout of a poem.

  2. I posted about online classes today, too 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever taken a poetry course, either, but I have taken online classes. I think I actually worked harder for the online ones than the classroom ones, since I didn’t have a professor standing up front, reminding me about assignments. Glad you’re enjoying your class!

  3. I have taken some poetry courses, but more analysis than writing poetry. I do love poetry, though! It’s very hit or miss for me in writing it. I churn out tons of terrible ones to get to a couple that I can work with. It’s still lots of fun though 🙂 Do you like the poems you’re coming up with in this class?

  4. I took an online Gotham screenwriting class a few years ago. I enjoyed it for the most part, but some of it was a little hard to get into. I preferred a classroom setting better. Awesome that your doing a class for a kind of writing you don’t usually do. This can only be good!

  5. In college, I had to take a creative writing class, and the focus of mine happened to be poetry. I loved it! The intense focus on word choice and using your senses really helped me in my novel writing.

  6. It’s so fun to hear about your class! The online workshop I took last month on Deep POV was the first I’ve ever done and I loved it. But I also really like the idea of doing something like a poetry class that is completely different from any kind of writing I’ve done before. I think the last time I wrote any poetry was probably in fifth grade, too. 🙂 Glad you are enjoying it.

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