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Living Poems, Writing Lives Course Outline

October 2 – November 30, 2017 – 6 Monday Sessions: 7 pm – 9 pm ET 

One week off between Sessions 2 & 3 and between Sessions 4 & 5

Session 1 – Point of View & Revision: October 2
Student intro and check-in (We will check in briefly each week)
  • Class overview
  • Introduction to point of view and revision (& why we’re addressing them first)
  • The invaluable gifts in our ability to change point of view, and hold multiple perspectives and paradox; and our ability to revise (re-vision – see again where the poem/writing/life wants to go)

Session 2 – Image (revision continued): October 9
  • Show, don’t tell / concrete vs abstract language
  • Differentiating understanding (telling) and embodying (showing)
  • Power of image for subject-object move in development
No class on October 16 – time to write and revise

Session 3 – Diction – Communication Choices (revision continued): October 23
  • Word choice – the exact, as opposed to the almost exact, word (did the bell ring or peal?)
  • Choices in everything (car, clothes, grooming, diet, etc.) as means of expression

Session 4  – The Line – Episodes as Building Blocks (revision continued): October 30
  • Line as basic building block of poem
    • Line length
    • Line ending
  • Episode as basic building block of life
No class on November 6 – time to write and revise

Session 5  – Metaphor & Simile (revision continued): November 13
  • Power of comparison: “The thing,” “the thing” is something else, and what “the thing” is like
  • The life metaphors we choose, and those that choose us

Session 6 – Music: Rhythm & Sound – Going With, and Well-intentioned Attempts to Control, the Flow (revision continued): November 20
  • Accented and unaccented syllables / pronunciation / assonance, consonance, alliteration
    • A very, very, very brief look at (gulp) meter – and why you already know which syllables to emphasize
  • Natural, chosen, and accidental rhythms in life

Part 2 of Living Poems, Writing Lives will be offered in 2018.

In Part 2 we will build on the poetic devices we engaged in Part 1 and take a close look at punctuation, drama, structure, theme, texture, and completion – in poetry and life.


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