Where The Sidewalk / Bends: How Line Breaks / Make Meaning in Poetry


In this generative poetry-writing workshop, students will learn the fundamentals of the fundamental element of poetry, the line. In what ways does the line stabilize, organize, and make meaning in the poem; in what ways does the line subvert, surprise, and re-make meaning? Can you write a sonnet without lines? How do you write a poem that goes really really fast? How do you slow a line down to a snail’s pace? Is this poem a foreign place, or is it a home // away from home? In 5 days with 5 respective units we will cover:

Unit 1: Starting line (the end of the sentence)

Unit 2: Lineage of the line (whose line is it anyway?)

Unit 3: Alignments (meaningful line arrangements)

Unit 4: Timelines (the line break’s time and space discontinuum)

Unit 5: Lines of flight (is it possible to write outside the lines?)

In each class we will discuss and close-read daily readings for form and technique, we will write in-class generative poetry exercises, and we will share each other’s work. Students will also bring in past work and re-line it in order to re-envision it. Students ultimately will learn not only to reframe their previous works, but to view the creation of poems from a higher, artful, and even more playful level. That said, all levels are welcome.

In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; provide feedback on writing you produce in our week; critique writing you bring from home.

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