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CW 134 - The Craft of Poetry

Summer 2022

This two-unit course on poetry & poetics emphasizes an introduction to craft—how poems are created, what their elements are, and how the finished pieces work—which you will explore through careful study of models by published writers, and through writing and revising your own original pieces generated for this class.

Creative Writing Minor





Class Number: 14424
Meeting time @ place:
MTUWTHF 1:00pm - 3:00pm @ Evans 45
Section Theme: TBA
Instructor: Tory Adkisson
Section Description:
Book List:
Class Number: 14439
Meeting time @ place:
MTUTH 1:00pm - 3:00pm @ Internet
WF - @ Internet
Section Theme: Sound, Space, the Line: Your Creative Path
Instructor: Belinda Kremer
Section Description:

We meet synchronously online M, T, & Th 1--3pm. Wed & Fri sessions: asynchronous online. 

For a sense of how we’ll engage poetry:

Check out Amanda Gorman & Trevor Noah on The Daily Social Distancing Show, Feb 2021

Explore some literary magazines at Poets & Writers

Meet your instructor: Belinda Kremer

We'll focus on your creation of new poems as we encounter diverse poets, probing what gives “free” verse its dynamism, & delving into "fixed" forms, sound poems, visual poems & digital hybrids. We'll consider poetry’s two core, competing media: sound & space/silence. We'll work with poetry's primary unit --the line-- and how it shapes these media. Short exercises will get you writing, build your craft, & push you towards new work. Our modes: drafting, feedback, development; craft talks, revision, editing; a sense of play; & workshops of your + your peers' poems. With just 3 weeks, you'll be working to deadlines--always helpful. Our intensive offers the community, collaboration & creative “hothouse” that writers travel the world for, attending retreats. Plan on full engagement--presence + participation-- with all 14 sessions. Arriving anywhere from accomplished to novice, you'll depart having advanced your craft & your poetry.

Book List:

Required Purchase > The Practicing Poet: Writing Beyond the Basics Diane Lockward Terrapin Books, 2018 paperback ISBN: 1947896075 e-book ISBN-13: 978-1-9478-9608-6 Available through the Cal Bookstore and other vendors. Access: paperback strongly preferred; e-book if print poses any access barrier.

Course Reader from Copy Central. You'll be able to purchase this reader in print, digital, or print + digital access options.

Free, w/ unlimited access >> via ProQuest Ebook Central, UC Berkeley Library. Access this book at any time, & read around in it as much as you like. It is a rich resource, & connects to other rich resources, & new approaches poems & poetics--& you'll surely "meet" in it some poets new to you.

The Art of Poetry : How to Read a Poem Weiss, Shira Wolosky. The Art of Poetry : How to Read a Poem, Oxford University Press USA - OSO, 2008. ProQuest Ebook Central,

Free, with unlimited access >>> Online Texts, Performances, Literary Magazines As part of class, we'll access many poems & poets online.


Book List:
Class Number: 14408
Meeting time @ place:
MTUWTHF 10:00am - 12:00pm @ Wheeler 104
Section Theme: Unearthing Possibility in Poetry
Section Description:

This class is an immersive opportunity to explore the possibilities of language, sound, and storytelling via a series of casual, ongoing experiments in poem-making. For a little while, you'll live and breathe poems, collaborating with your classmates to remake the world around you in language. We’ll write something new almost every day, read broadly (the work of “established” poets, your classmates, and your own work as you study the revision process) to figure out what makes poetry tick, and will balance rigorous investigation of craft with warmth and generosity.  

On an ordinary day, you might find yourself writing a poem that sounds like a cicada-filled forest, or drafting a psychogeographic map of campus in verse; watching a 7min craft lecture on the poetic line, then utilizing those concepts as you write the day's poem; or reading an essay on revision and identifying strategies for revising something stubborn of your own.

We won't entirely demystify what makes poems shimmer and sing (with luck, we'll end up deepening that particular mystery!), but by the end of the course you'll leave with an understanding of contemporary craft tools, how to use them in your own work, and how to spot them in the wild. No previous experience with poetry or creative writing is required (complete newcomers and longtime poets alike will find themselves at ease in the classroom community); come prepared with curiosity and enthusiasm about experimenting with language!

Book List:

Poetry: A Writer’s Guide & Anthology (Amorak Huey and W. Todd Kaneko) in the paperback edition (not an ebook); please bring this to class on the first day!

All other texts will be freely available online, or provided in .pdf form.