The Art of Craft: a series of craft classes for writers, readers, and teachers
Big Blue Marble Bookstore
Thursdays, 7-9 pm
April 9th – May 14th
April 9th Thinking Like a Poet
April 16th A Density of Sound
April 23rd Spines and Joints
April 30th Measuring Meter
May 7th Walking the Line
May 14th Case Study: The Persona Poem
Welcome to the Art of Craft, an ongoing series of craft classes by Big Blue Marble Staffer and Writer-in-Residence Elliott batTzedek. Each week we’ll take on a different element of the poet’s craft through learning, discussion, and hands-on work with poems by many of the best contemporary poets.
The Art of Craft is for poets, for poetry fans who want to learn more about the art, and for writing teachers who want to bring new tools to their students. An ongoing writers’ workshop will also be available for poets who want to apply these elements to expand and deepen their own work. More information about each topic is below.
Cost: The craft classes are $50 each, $90 for any two, $160 for any four, or $200 for the series of six. Philadelphia public-school teachers (or staff who work with kids) may enroll for $15 each or $120 for the whole series. Discounts are also available if you bring a friend; please email me for more information.
Pre-registration and a deposit are required. Please email Elliott at email@example.com or register online at: The Art of CraftThe fee includes all handouts and materials.
A writers’ workshop is also available, meeting weekly for 6 sessions. The cost is $200 for one poet or $300 for 2 (that is, bring a friend and you each save $50!). Workshops will include reviews of craft elements, writing exercises, and discussions of our poems. Register online at: Art of Craft Writers’ Workshop
About the Topics:
Thinking Like a Poet —Rather than asking, What does a poem mean? this series asks How does a poem mean?, a question we’ll answer through studying aspects of the poet’s craft. In the first section we’ll be exploring:
Music and Clatter
Words, Diction, un-Microwaveable Language
Time and Space
A Density of Sound—How does the poem sing? What is the chatter, the clatter, the smooth move, the structure, the improv? How do poets use sound to structure the poem and to convey its emotion, context, meaning, and urgency?
Spines and Joints—What is the central axis of your poem? Where does it bend, rotate, flex? How and when do other voices/views come into the poem?
Measuring Meter—The inherent meters of English live in everything we write. We’ll study how meter control the pace and meaning of poems, and how to use meter as a tool for revising.
Walking the Line—Never again worry about where to put in line breaks—because lines don’t break. Lines end, when their work in the poem is complete. Break the myth of the break, and free your lines to be the great engines of your writing.
Case Study: The Personal Poem—Persona poems, or poems that speak in a first person voice that is clearly not the voice of the poet, have been adapted to many interesting uses in the past decades. We’ll look at some of the most original and most startling voices, while considering structural issues such as how poets enter and leave the persona poem.