“Ornithology” Poetry Analysis and Imitation Exercise

Class: Introduction to Creative Writing (The College of William & Mary) Genre: Poetry Purpose: To become more scrupulous readers of poetry In order to prepare my Intro to Creative Writing students for talking more about poetry with regard to the author’s intentionality before their poetry workshop, I’m asking them to read and examine the poem […]

“No River, No Bridge: Writing Poetry, Writing Nonfiction” Handout and Exercise

I taught a class titled “No River, No Bridge: Writing Poetry, Writing Nonfiction” at Appomattox Regional Governor’s School’s Writers’ Fest yesterday. We discussed hybridity of poetry and nonfiction, as well as the ways in which poetry can take on and explore “truth” using essayistic strategies without the requirement of “fact.” Several students came up afterward to show me […]

“On Poetry’s Relevancy” and a Reading Poetry Exercise

Class: Writing Poetry (Virginia Commonwealth University) Genre: Poetry Purpose: To encourage students to be generous, curious, and discerning readers of poetry and to consider poetry’s impact on culture. Readings: Poetry‘s July/August 2014 issue that includes poems by Dean Young, Philip Fried, D.A. Powell, Traci Brimhall, Devin Johnston, Rosanna Warren, Amanda Calderon, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Rickey […]

Conversing Across the Chasm Exercise

Class: Beginning Poetry (Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop) Genre: Poetry Readings: Each others’ poems Time: 30 minutes Each class member should respond to a poem written by the person seated on their right. They can argue or interrogate an idea, provide an anecdotal narrative that relates to the first person, or work associatively away from the original kernel […]

Archaeology Exercise

Class: Writing Out of the Ordinary Genre: Poetry/Nonfiction Readings: Maggie Nelson’s Bluets and Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Time: 40 minutes I place many objects in the table or assign them at random to students. All of the objects are old: postcards, advertisements, mugshots, taxidermy instructions, a dried beaver face, etc. 1. Select […]

“Headliner” Exercise

Class: Intro to Creative Writing Genre: Poetry Readings: Matthew Olzmann’s Mezzanines Time: 20–25 minutes Mayor To Homeless: Go Home Stabbing Disrupts Anger Management Class Missippi’s Literacy Program Shows Improvement One-Armed Man Applauds the Kindness of Strangers Statistics Show That Teen Pregnancy Drops Significantly After Age 25 Federal Agents Raid Gun Shop, Find Weapons Pick one […]