Welcome to Writing 201: Poetry!

Before the course officially begins, let’s get into poetry mode with some tips and resources for all verse-atile bloggers out there.

Welcome to Blogging U! This course isn't currently active, but you can learn more about what we offer and register for upcoming courses on the BU home page.

The first assignment of Writing 201: Poetry will be out at the stroke of midnight (GMT) on 2/16 (how excited am I? ALL-CAPS EXCITED). Anyone who’s been to a poetry reading knows, however, that pre-event chatter is fun in its own right: what better way to mingle, share gossip, and get in the mood for some brilliant wordsmithery? Here are some tips and resources that course participants might already want to take a look at.

(Are they written in shamelessly goofy couplets? I wouldn’t have it any other way.)

So, how is this course designed?

For the rhyme-o-phobic among you, here’s the nitty gritty in good-old prose:

  • There will be ten assignments published daily between February 16-27 (weekends are off).
  • Each assignment includes three optional elements: a word prompt, a poetic form, and a poetic device.
  • You can mix and match these elements as you see fit, or ignore one or more (or all) if you wish to write about something else altogether.
  • While you’re invited to publish a new poem every day, you’re by no means required to do so. Writing every day (without publishing) is perfectly fine, as is any other rhythm that works for you and your schedule.
  • All registered participants will be invited to join a private site, the Commons, before the course starts on 9/16. There you’ll be able to share work, give and solicit feedback, and discuss the assignments (and poetry in general).
  • All styles, forms, and levels of experience are welcome in this course.

For a fortnight, every non-weekend day

A new assignment will come your way.

It will include a prompt — just a single word, you see,

To get those creative juices flowing nice and free.

For those looking for some mental acupuncture,

Each day we’ll also introduce a new poetic form or structure.

And if you’re really feeling super-hyper-extra-saucy,

We’ll offer a different poetic device to explore every day — to the entire posse!

Do you have to tackle each of these every day, you ask?

No, no, no — the choice is yours. You define your own task.

Do you have to publish a new poem with every rising sun?

You can, if you want! If you don’t — no worries. This course is meant to be fun.

If something doesn’t work for you, just say ‘Nyet!’

We’re not the Poetry Police just yet.

Where can I share my work?

So glad you asked! Starting 2/16, participants have the right

To join The Commons, our private site.

There you can ask questions and solicit some opinions

From your fellow writers, the wild poetic minions.

If you signed up to this course using the registration form here, you will receive an automated welcome email detailing how to access The Commons. No further action is required on your end.

Share a line or two (an entire poem if it’s really short)

And don’t forget a link, which will help you to escort

Us to your blog, your mothership.

Don’t be shy. Be specific. Be open to others’ views (please don’t forget this tip).

How do I give feedback on someone else’s poem?

Be honest but kind. Don’t ever forget

That the other person is another poète.

Be precise! (If you can, refer to a specific word or verse.)

“It’s great!” and “I love it!” while nice, are too terse.

Share your full take. Explain not just what but why.

If you have a great example, link to it. (Who knows, maybe someone will bake you a pie?)

How do I format poetry on my blog?

A more spot-on question has yet to be posed.

Badly-formatted verse gets us all indisposed.

First, your Text Editor: it might look daunting,

But give it a few minutes, and you’ll be flaunting

Your HTML like a pro. Just check out these handy

Bits of advice, and your poetry will look quite dandy.

A more digestible approach to making verse look sleek

Is in this post. (Don’t thank me now; just wait a week.)

What else should I know?

Looking for communities of poets? They’re quite easily found.

Or start your own — with 1,300+ other poets, you can build it from the ground

Up.  Are you stuck for a rhyme, and you can’t let go?

Why not try a rhyming dictionary (or two), ya know?

If you ever wonder, “what the hell is a stanza?”

“Is chiasmus a disease invented by George Costanza?” —

Don’t pull out your hair, don’t abandon all hope:

That’s what a poetry glossary‘s for — it’s dope!

And if (for shame!) we leave you short of inspiration,

Browse poems, poets, and more at poets.org or the Poetry Foundation.

If something’s unclear, just ask someone. Ask Staff!

We won’t laugh, we won’t smirk, you’re not making a gaffe.

Will I feel comfortable in this course given that I’m into writing poetry in X style?

All poets — novices and pros, free-versers and sonneteers, Beatniks and dandies, Pre-Raphaelites and New Formalists, and even those who just love writing poetry for the love of poetry, goddammit — are welcome. If you never wrote a line of verse before, you’re welcome. If you’re sharing poems from your upcoming collection, you’re welcome. If you’re writing in other languages, you’re welcome, too (remember, though, that few others — if any — might be able to give you feedback). In short, you’re welcome — thanks for joining our riotous, mirth-making, soul-crushing, thought-provoking, word-addicted ranks.



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