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Iowa Summer Writing Festival: Poetry Across the Wires with Katie Ford is a Course

Iowa Summer Writing Festival: Poetry Across the Wires with Katie Ford

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Full course description

Poetry Across the Wires: Katie Ford, Instructor

Mondays on Zoom, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Central Time, Nov.16-Dec.14

(12:00–3:00 p.m. Eastern, 9:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m. Pacific)

Presented by the Iowa Summer Writing Festival 


In this generative writing course, we will examine the unfolding lyricism and logic inside extraordinary poems, all with an eye toward broadening the tools we have at our disposal when we write. We will then draft poems mimicking one or more technique from a particular poem, jolting our creativity via unexpected prompts and drafting strategies. Participants will write a new poem each week and read roughly a dozen pages of poetry prior to each class. The readings will be international in scope, and will give us a sense of the enormous array of poetries practiced across the globe. Craft lessons will cover the image, sonic devices, open forms (including the ode and the epistolary poem), inherited forms (including the tanka and the ghazal) and free verse.

Our class will meet weekly on Zoom. Each class will include a lesson on craft and discussion of the week’s readings; participants will also have a chance to read portions of their weekly drafts out loud to the extent they are comfortable. We won’t be workshopping poems together, but each week participants will turn in a new poem draft and, before the next class, will receive written feedback from Katie. Near the end of the five weeks, each poet will have a 30-minute Zoom conference to discuss their work in more detail. By the end of our time together, participants will have drafted five poems designed to ignite and expand their imaginative reach. All levels of writers are welcome, from beginning poets to lifelong practitioners of the craft.

Our three-hour Zoom meetings will unfold like this (class-time is listed in Central Time):

11 a.m.-noon: Lesson on poetic craft and discussion of readings

Noon-1 p.m.: Break from Zoom to do a 45-minute writing exercise individually. The exercise will stem from the lesson in the first hour of class.

1-2 p.m.: Return to class for communal discussion of the challenges of the exercise, reading aloud from our new drafts, and a lesson on how to work further on the draft.


Class meets on Zoom 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Central Time:

Monday, November 16

Monday, November 23

Monday, November 30

Monday, December 7

Monday, December 14

Your 30-minute individual conference with your instructor will be scheduled in the latter part of the course. 


Katie Ford is the author of four books of poems, most recently, If You Have to Go (Graywolf Press). Her third, Blood Lyrics, was a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize and the Rilke Prize. Her second, Colosseum, was named among the “Best Books of 2008” by Publishers Weekly and the Virginia Quarterly Review and led to a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the Larry Levis Prize. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry, The Paris Review, The American Poetry Review, and The Norton Introduction to Literature. She’s also a librettist whose poetry has been set by composer David Serkin Ludwig and performed at Carnegie Hall and the Kimmel Center, as well as on tour in Europe and Asia. 

Katie Ford is in her 17th year of teaching creative writing, and currently is a professor at the University of California, Riverside, where she served as Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing & Writing for the Performing Arts from 2015-2018. She first taught for the Iowa Summer Writing Festival in 2003. She’s spent many summer weeks since then teaching and learning alongside the Festival’s participants. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Katie has taught online for over twenty weeks, and is thrilled to teach for the Festival in its online launch.

Katie lives in southern California with her daughter Maggie. Please visit for more information and links to her work. 

What students say about working with Katie:

It was my privilege and very good luck to attend Katie Ford's summer workshop in 2019. Her teaching is suffused with clarity, comprehensive scholarship, and the excitement and joy she takes in poetry of every stripe. She is an extraordinarily effective and generous teacher. The creativity that was ignited by the workshop and the craft that I absorbed enabled creation of a series of ambitious pieces which have since appeared in print.

—Don K., 2020 

Katie Ford is one of the best poetry teachers I have ever had. Katie brings to her teaching a love for poetry, deep knowledge of the art and the craft, clear explanations, useful examples, stimulating discussion and great patience in answering questions. There is no such thing as a dumb question in Katie's classes, and she makes the experience fun as well as informative.

—George S., 2020


The fee for this course is $600. Payment in full is required to enroll in the course.

Registration opens Thursday, October 29.

Registrations are accepted on a first-come first-served basis.

Class size is limited to 10.

Note: Your credit card payment will be processed by an external provider and will appear on your credit card statement as “UI WritingMagid Center” or “IA YOUTH WRITING PROJECT.”

Cancellation Policy: A $150 cancellation fee will be applied to refunds for cancellations received by Monday, November 9. Thereafter, no refunds are available. 


Contact the Iowa Summer Writing Festival: Phone: (319) 335-4160.

Our tiny staff is working remotely. If you phone and we miss you, please leave a message. We'll return your call!