English 290P - Winter, 2022

Creative Writing: Poetry

Class Information

Instructor: Peterson, Kathleen
Time: R 3:10-6:00
Location: 156 Voorhies
Breadth: Later American
Focus: Genre


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 the work of other poets.

We will read together three collections of poetry published in 2021, and one anthology. These selected works highlight three kinds of content (that have always been) available to poets ? nature (Gander) love (Lim) and family (Kearney). This class has a special interest in talking about content?s relationship with form, since so much contemporary poetry seems (to me) excessively concerned with subject matter. Though our conversations will be open-ended, they will hopefully return to poetry?s insistence that language itself is its central mode of investigation, whatever subject matter the poem appears to have chosen.

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.

This class is offered through the MFA in Creative Writing and priority will be given to MFA students completing their degree requirements.


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, additionally, a short work in prose.


Twice Alive, Forrest Gander
Sho, Douglas Kearney
The Curious Thing, Sandra Lim
When The Light of the World Was Subdued Our Songs Shone Through, Joy Harjo