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July 10–August 7, 2021. The Short Poem with Malena Mörling is a Course

July 10–August 7, 2021. The Short Poem with Malena Mörling

Time limit: 60 days

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Full course description


The Short Poem with Malena Mörling (Five-Week Workshop)


Saturdays on Zoom, July 10–August 7; 11:00 a.m.–2:00 p.m. Iowa/Central Time (12:00–3:00 p.m. Eastern; 9:00 a.m.–12:00 noon Pacific; 10:00 a.m.–1:00 p.m. Mountain)

Fee: $600

Course Description

Charles Simic has said: “The religion of the short poem in every age and in every literature has a single commandment: Less is always more. The short poem rejects preamble and summary. It is about all and everything, the metaphysics of a few words surrounded by much silence.” We will consider, apart from its length, the characteristics of the short poem. What is left unsaid, what is included and why? How does silence help make every word tell? 

In this generative workshop, we will read short poems and learn to write them. The readings will be by both contemporary and traditional international poets, and every week we will draft three to five new short poems. We will meet on Zoom for three hours every Saturday for five weeks between 11:00 and 2:00 Central Standard Time.

The first hour will consist of a lesson focused on particular elements of craft essential to the integrity and the ingenuity of the short poem. We will look at how images, personified and otherwise, function in short poems as well as the use of metaphor and its intricate and far-reaching effects. We will pay close attention to the tone and diction of the short poem, learn to listen for its innate music and detect how a short poem turns emotionally or conceptionally as in the traditional Japanese forms, Tanka and Haiku.

For the second hour of the workshop, I will provide writing exercises based on the just received craft lesson and we will take a break from Zoom to write on our own.

The third hour of class will be spent discussing as a group the challenges, issues and questions that may have come up while generating new drafts of short poems and, if we would like, sharing our drafts by reading aloud. During this last hour, there will also be a final lesson on how to keep working to further develop our new drafts into more complete poems.

We will not be workshopping as a group, but by Wednesday each week, each participant will submit between three and five short poems for my written feedback. Towards the end of the five weeks, everyone will also have a one on one, 30-minute long, Zoom conference with me. By the conclusion of the workshop, we will have completed a group of short poems informed by the aim to deepen our own distinct voice, sensibility and vision. This generative poetry workshop is open to writers at all levels.


Malena Mörling was born in Stockholm in 1965 and grew up in southern Sweden. She is the author of two books of poetry: Ocean Avenue and Astoria. She has published translations of work by Nobel Laureate Tomas Tranströmer and, together with Jonas Ellerström, a collection of the Finland-Swedish poet Edith Södergran, On Foot I Wandered Through the Solar Systems and the collection 1933 by Philip Levine into Swedish. Mörling and Ellerström also edited and translated the anthology The Star By My Head, Poets From Sweden, published by Milkweed Editions. Mörling has received a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship, a Lannan Literary Fellowship, and a Dianna L. Bennett Fellowship from the Beverly Rogers, Carol C. Harter Black Mountain Institute. She is a Professor of Creative Writing at The University of North Carolina, Wilmington and currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Registration & Fees

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

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.

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