Course description

This intensive workshop offers students the opportunity to further develop their aptitude and affinity for the practice of writing in verse lines. In this case verse is understood to mean any and all forms of writing in lines as opposed to prose sentences: metrical verse, blank verse, syllabic verse, free verse, and verse marked by what T. S. Eliot called "the ghost of meter." Students follow a structured sequence of writing assignments, readings, and exercises aimed at cultivating a sound working knowledge of the fundamental principles of prosody and the evolving possibilities of poetic form. There is a special emphasis on listening to lines and saying poems aloud, in concert with listening to an eclectic assortment of audio archives. Another focus is the verse line through time, as we turn for instruction and inspiration to what the critic Paul Fussell calls the "historical dimension" of poetic meter and poetic form. The collective goal of the course is to create the conditions for reading and writing poems with a stronger sense of technical know-how and expressive conviction as well as a renewed appreciation for the inexhaustible art of the line.


  • Preceptor in Expository Writing, Harvard University
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