Advanced Poetry Workshop

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Advanced Poetry Workshop


Richard Wilbur says that to begin writing a poem, “there has to be a sudden, confident sense that there is an exploitable and interesting relationship between something perceived out there and something in the way of incipient meaning within you,” and in this course, we will work through your poems to mine that territory between the external and the internal. We will focus on: how to find a poem’s form; creating complex meanings through line, language and whitespace; and on developing rhythm and tension through syntax, punctuation, perspective and repetition. As an advanced poetry workshop, this class assumes that its members are already practicing poets with a grounding in the foundational techniques of poetry-writing. We will work in a spirit of shared experiment, hoping to push our inquiries into this art form further. Readings and assignments will investigate different impulses—formal, textural, tonal, thematic. I will ask you to inhabit, query, stretch, and even resist these impulses as you develop your own poems.


  • Instructor: Gary McDowell

  • Length of workshop: 4 weeks

  • Date: Mondays, October 14 - November 4

  • Time: 7 - 9 p.m.

  • Location: Porch HQ
    2811 Dogwood Pl.
    Nashville, TN 37206

  • Cost: $160/Non-Member; $144/Member **Don’t forget to use your membership code at check-out!

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Gary L. McDowell is the author of five collections of poetry, including Mysteries in a World that Thinks There Are None (Burnside Review Press, 2016), winner of the 2014 Burnside Review Press Book Award; Weeping at a Stranger’s Funeral (Dream Horse Press, 2014); and American Amen (Dream Horse Press, 2010), winner of the 2009 Orphic Prize in Poetry. He’s also the co-editor of The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry (Rose Metal Press, 2010). His poems and essays have appeared in journals such as American Poetry ReviewThe NationGulf CoastNew England ReviewPrairie Schooner, and Colorado Review. He lives in Nashville, TN with his family and is an assistant professor of English and Creative Writing at Belmont University.