English 290P - Winter, 2016

Seminar in Creative Writing of Poetry

Class Information

Instructor: Peterson, Kathleen
Time: T 12:10-3:00
Location: 120 Voorhies


    In this advanced course, students will write and revise original work, and critique the work of other participants. We will pursue the best poems we can by treating each other’s work to deep attention, reading aloud, and talking about revision. Those in the class will also read closely, and discuss, a small amount of supplemental material each week, and, in the second half of the quarter, a fairy tale disguised as a memoir. In our reading together we’ll follow a single (and disappearing, via climate change?) ecological mood through the last few decades of poetry – that of going North, of wandering in and towards frozen latitudes – and discuss the technical strategies different writers have used in pursuit of investigating it in verse. The poems you write, of course, may or may not have anything to do with this theme.

    The course has two objectives: the making of memorable poems by whatever means we might discover, and the creation a trustworthy and challenging community of judgment, support, and intellectual investigation. The small size of the course will ensure that students will have substantial opportunities to have their work discussed, and our methods for discussion will be shaped by student interest and the needs of the class.

    Readings will include the books listed below and various contemporary poems TBA distributed via PDF.


    Grading will be based on class participation (contributions to class discussions of assigned reading, participation in workshop conversation and critique, and written commentary on others’ work) and on written work, which will include a portfolio of at least ten poems with a few revisions and a work in prose


    An African in Greenland, Tete-Michel Kpomassie
    The Great Enigma, Tomas Transtromer, translated by Robin Fulton