Poetry Writing: Getting to Good

Together we untangle and then interweave the separate strands of poetry. Learn about sound (melody and music), tangibility (image and emotion), figures of speech (metaphor and meaning), language (compression and explosion), and theme (synthesis and synergy). We include analysis of poetry, strategies for revision, checklists, humorous and illustrative examples, a glossary, web links, interactive questions, and instructor critique.

At a glance

What: Poetry Writing: Getting to Good

When: Start anytime, complete within 1 year

Where: Online

Cost: $175

Continuing education credit: 20 hours (2.0 CEUs)

Instructor: Angela Rydell

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For additional information, contact Christine DeSmet: 608-262-3447

Writing, reading, and falling in love with poetry are all processes. None of these happen using the linear or intuitive side of the brain alone, and none of these happen suddenly rather than gradually. To accommodate this, Poetry Writing: Getting to Good combines discussion, examples, and links to a variety of sites and poets. You will immerse yourself as a poet in varied kinds of experiences. The course encourages you with specific tips for reading, writing casually, and writing seriously, all the while reflecting, questioning, and taking various kinds of writing risks.

This course is for writers looking for professional feedback to help polish their work, beginners ready to get their poetry off the ground, intermediate-to-advanced poets ready to publish, and anyone who wants to take their poetry to the next level.

What we cover in this course

Untangle and then interweave the separate strands of poetry. Instructor Angela Rydell will guide you through the five units:

  1. Sound: Melody and Music
  2. Tangibility: Image and Emotion
  3. Figures of Speech: Metaphor and Meaning
  4. Language: Compression and Explosion
  5. Theme: Synthesis and Synergy

In each unit, you work through a variety of exercises, readings, and challenges which lead you to writing a polished poem with your new skills. You will receive a written critique of your poem to explain what you've mastered and where you can improve. You will analyze poems, reflect and experiment, practice stretching exercises, and learn strategies for revising your poems. The course material also includes writer checklists, illustrative and humorous examples, a glossary of terminology, useful Web links, and interactive self-tests.

You do the lessons at your own pace. You can e-mail questions any time, with or without a lesson.

You offer 2 poetry courses. Which should I take first?

Take either course first. The instructor gears each one to your needs. Every poet — from beginner through advanced/already published — can benefit from either course.

What’s the difference between the two offerings?

“Getting to Good” gives you:

  • Reflection and warm-up exercises
  • In-depth discussion of one-liners from Shakespeare, Dickinson, and contemporary poets
  • A look at how theme creates a poem greater than the sum of its parts
  • A foundation in the history of poetry

“Poetic Leap” gives you:

  • Practical tips on drafting and revision
  • In-depth discussion of 1 or 2 contemporary poems per unit
  • A look at how line breaks tease meaning or deliver it
  • Bonus exercises for your Writer’s Notebook

How the course works

You can start our workshops anytime, and there are no required hours to log on. It's all done with one-on-one correspondence with the instructor using email. You can read and print course materials in the course Web site, which you can access at your leisure with a password that we will give you. We have writers from around the world participating in our workshops. A lot of great writing gets accomplished via email. Because of the one-on-one nature of our workshops, you'll find them an excellent "coaching" or mentoring situation that will keep you going. And if you want to just work on your own — hey, that's fine too. Of course you can do the suggested exercises on your own without the feedback if you'd rather do that. We're also here throughout the year if you have questions.