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June 25–27, 2021. Poetry for Beginners—Contemplation, Play, and Discovery with Michael Morse is a Course

June 25–27, 2021. Poetry for Beginners—Contemplation, Play, and Discovery with Michael Morse

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Poetry for Beginners—Contemplation, Play, and Discovery with Michael Morse (Weekend Workshop) 



Friday, June 25–Sunday, June 27, 2021

Friday on Zoom, 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time (8:00–9:00 Eastern; 5:00–6:00 Pacific; 6:00–7:00 Mountain) Introductory meeting

Saturday and Sunday on Zoom, 10:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time (11:00–4:00 Eastern; 8:00–1:00 Pacific; 9:00–2:00 Mountain)

Saturday and Sunday meetings include a one-hour break. Class meets for four hours each day. 

Fee: $300

Course Description

Is it finally time to take that poetry class, to learn how we can playfully yet seriously craft poems and develop a practice that might help us generate work long after our weekend together? Absolutely!


In this generative weekend for beginning and budding poets, we’ll learn about some essential building blocks for poetry, specifically voice, image, metaphor, music, and structure, and we’ll make these a part of three enticing “meals” in each of our four 2-hour sessions. Each session will start with contemplation (we’ll begin by contemplating poems that can teach us how they’ve been built), move on to play (we’ll engage with playful-yet-focused exercises and prompts that will help us generate drafts of unexpected and new work), and conclude with discovery (we’ll bring together what we’ve experienced in contemplation and play, thinking about how we might tinker with what we’ve started and develop even richer drafts of work. We’ll close out the weekend with useful tips for revising and playing with drafts beyond the weekend.


Prepare for a class that will warmly welcome the tentative and the bold and everyone in between as we learn how to approach, access, and generate poems. Our sessions—excellent refreshers for any writer in any genre interested in looking at language in fresh ways—will feature a packet of poems that will be made available on Canvas prior to our first Friday session so that we can hit the ground running on Saturday and Sunday!



Michael Morse teaches at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School in New York and has taught at The University of Iowa and The New School. His first book, Void and Compensation, was published by Canarium Books and was a finalist for the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has published poems in various journals—including A Public SpaceThe American Poetry ReviewFieldThe Iowa Review, and Ploughshares—and in anthologies that include The Best American Poetry 2012 and Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days. Honors include fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. He received his M.F.A. in Poetry from The University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. He is a poetry editor for The Literary Review.

Registration & Fees

The fee for this course is $300. Payment in full is required to register.

Registration for this course opens at 1:00 p.m. Central Time, Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

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 Writing—Magid Center.”

Refund & Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel your enrollment in a Festival class, please let us know as soon as possible. We can only offer full refunds if you cancel two weeks prior to the start of class. After that, before the start date of class, we can offer a 50% refund. We cannot refund day-of cancellations, and we cannot refund or partially refund tuition once the class has begun.

Terms & Community Policy

The Iowa Summer Writing Festival is a community built on an assumption of shared enterprise, in the spirit of mutual respect. We reserve the right to a) revoke the registration of or b) dismiss from the program any person who disrupts the learning/working environment of others. Participants in the Festival are subject to all University of Iowa policies governing conduct in our community, whether online or in person.



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!