Course Descriptions

ENG 3316

Workshop in Writing Poetry

Jennifer Maier

Tuesdays 3:00-5:30 p.m.

"True ease in writing comes from art, not chance,
As those move easiest who have learned to dance.

—Alexander Pope, from “An Essay on Criticism”

Required Texts:

  • Wallace, Robert, and Michelle Boisseau. Writing Poems. 7th ed. New York: Harper Collins, 2004.
  • Strand, Mark, and Eavan Boland. The Making of a Poem. New York: Norton, 2001

This course is designed to build on the poetry reading and writing skills introduced in English 2215, Imaginative Writing. Here, however, our main focus is on formally constructed poems — in other words, poems that communicate through varying patterns of rhyme, meter, and repetition. The study of sonnets, villanelles, and other traditional verse forms will help gradually train your ear as you develop a more mature sense of audience for your writing. To this end, you'll be sharing your poems regularly in peer review workshops, where classmates will offer feedback and suggestions for revision. We'll also be reading the work of professional poets from the point of view of apprentices to the craft.

Writing on the window of an English classroom

How to Read a Poem

English Professor Susan Van Zanten gives you a quick guide on how to get the most out of reading poetry.

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”
Jane Austen
Pride & Prejudice