What skills do we need to acquire if we are to express, in words, something of our marvelous complexity? How do we compress and hone the raw material of language into a poem? This intensive course is an introduction to the craft of poetry designed for beginning poets, for those who are ready to look more closely at some of the defining characteristics of poetry—the line and stanza, the use of images, rhythm and sound, the dynamics of tone and point of view, the interplay of movement and stillness, and the hard work of revision. We will explore the relationship between poetic content and form, and you will begin to master some of the devices and techniques that poets use to push language into an embodiment of an idea or feeling. Each day will be a vibrant mix of discussion (of poems by master poets), in-class writing, and workshopping of poems generated by in-class and “take home” writing prompts. The writing prompts will allow you to generate new material; as homework you will be encouraged to rework your poems, being mindful of the techniques poets use to consciously craft their language. We will also share ideas and insights, and the focus will be on creating a safe and supportive environment for workshopping your poems. The word “workshop” implies saws, noise, grease, and dust; implies that the work itself, the making, is the pleasure.
Jude Nutter was born in North Yorkshire, England, and grew up near Hannover in northern Germany. Her poems have appeared in numerous national and international journals and have received over 40 awards and grants. Her first book-length collection, Pictures of the Afterlife (Salmon Poetry, Ireland), winner of the Irish Listowel Prize, was published in 2002. The Curator of Silence (University of Notre Dame Press), her second collection, won the Ernest Sandeen Prize from the University of Notre Dame and was awarded the 2007 Minnesota Book Award in poetry. A third collection, I Wish I Had a Heart Like Yours, Walt Whitman (University of Notre Dame Press), was awarded the 2010 Minnesota Book Award in poetry and voted Poetry Book of the Year by ForeWord Review in New York. In 2004-2005 she spent two months in Antarctica as part of the National Science Foundation’s Writers and Artists Program.