The first line of any poem is the handshake with your reader. How do you grab their attention? Establish a tone? Keep them on their feet—or intentionally throw them off balance? In this class, we’ll hone the art of crafting effective opening lines by studying a selection of first lines by published poets. Through dissecting these first lines in isolation, we’ll unpack how craft choices create conceits that influence the reader’s expectations as they read forward. Then we’ll practice crafting our own first lines through guided writing exercises.
Anders Carlson-Wee is the author of The Low Passions (W.W. Norton, 2019), a New York Public Library Book Group Selection, and Dynamite (Bull City Press, 2015), winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Prize. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many other publications. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers, the McKnight Foundation, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, he is the winner of the 2017 Poetry International Prize. His work has been translated into Chinese. Anders holds an MFA from Vanderbilt University and lives in Cincinnati. www.anderscarlsonwee.com
Anders Carlson-Wee is new to The Porch. Welcome!