Mary Ruefle writes that “it’s not what a poem says with its mouth, it’s what it does with its eyes,” and this ineffable quality is what we will seek to nurture in our poems in this workshop. To that end, we will look at how to best knit together content and form through all the tools poets have at their disposal: from diction and syntax to punctuation and line breaks. In addition to reading each other’s work, we’ll read example poems and craft essays that nudge us toward serious play. Together, we’ll approach our poems with curiosity, with the aim of getting to know our own tendencies as writers better and how to gently push beyond our comfort zones into the mysteries poetry can offer us.
Registration will close on Wednesday, February 28, and participants will be asked to share a short poem for our first workshop on Wednesday, March 6. More instructions will be provided by email from the instructor after registration.
Amie Whittemore (she/her) is the author of the poetry collections Glass Harvest (Autumn House Press), Star-tent: A Triptych (Tolsun Books) and Nest of Matches (Autumn House Press, 2024). She was the 2020-2021 Poet Laureate of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow. She teaches creative writing at Eastern Illinois University and directs MTSU Write, a from-home creative writing mentorship program.
Amie sent materials enough ahead for us to be familiar with concepts and example poems before we discussed them. In the three hour workshop, we looked at six approaches to personal and persona poems and how these approaches might be used in our own work. Time for discussion, for personal drafts, for breakout sharing with one other class member, and then a return for group summation was applied as much as possible for each of the six approaches. When a class member wanted longer discussion, Amie adjusted the remaining time appropriately so that we left knowing how to approach all six techniques. She's a masterful teacher as well as a fine poet!
Amie is a fantastic teacher; she was warm and encouraging and provided excellent examples of poems that we talked through as a class before attempting writing prompts. I would definitely take a class from her again in the future!
Amie is an engaging and lively presence on screen. A natural teacher.