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Refine your poetry with this six-week course on poetic style, form and technique. Join award-winning poet Pip Smith to experiment with form and technique in order to draw out the ideas, subject or emotion at the heart of your work.
You will write a minimum of six new poems, and have those poems workshopped by Pip and the group. Writing in a variety of styles and forms, you’ll fine-tune your own personal approach to the writing of poetry. Finally, you’ll have the opportunity to refine your best poems before submitting for publication or performance.
This course takes place on a website specifically designed for writers, making it simple and easy to share your writing, give and receive feedback, and interact with fellow writers.
Please expect to dedicate three to four hours to coursework each week. This includes reading, responding to discussions, writing, revising and providing peer feedback.
Week 1: Poetic traditions and your place
What are our poetic traditions? What is poetry in 2018? This week we will briefly survey the vast poetic terrain of the 20th and 21st centuries, consider our allegiances and biases (and how helpful or unhelpful they might be), before planning how we will develop a productive writing practice over the following six weeks and beyond.
Week 2: Form and the poetic line
This week we will explore the basic unit of poetry: the poetic line. We will ask: when should we break a line, when should we end a line, and how do poets twist the line to suit their needs? We will finish by looking at the refrain, and the forms in which the refrain is used and manipulated. Focus on form: the villanelle and the pantoum.
Week 3: Emotion and the image
This week we will explore both the figurative and literal image by asking: how can we reveal emotion through our use of figurative language? How can we tighten descriptive language to make literal images ‘pop’? Focus on form: the lyric and the haiku.
Week 4: Music and metrics
This week we will consider the musical qualities of poetry, paying particular attention to internal rhyme, word play, metrics, rhythm and other poetic devices which can be used to structure free verse poetry. Focus on form: syllable poems, beat poetry, spoken word.
Week 5: Form and revision
This week we will develop our own personal guides for revision. What should we cut from drafts? How can we use stanza breaks, line breaks, and the conventions of formal poetry to help us compress our coal-like drafts into razor sharp, crystal clear diamonds?
Week 6: Sending your poems into the world
This week Pip will give poets advice and tips on publishing and performing their work, and provide links to articles on publishing and appropriate publications open for submission.
Internet access and confidence using basic computer software are essential for this program.
About the tutor
Pip Smith is a novelist, poet, songwriter and children’s author based in Sydney. Her critically acclaimed first novel, Half Wild, was published by Allen & Unwin in 2017, and her first collection of poetry, Too Close for Comfort, won the inaugural Helen Anne Bell Poetry Bequest Award in 2013. She reviews Australian literature for the Sydney Morning Herald […]