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Shapes: Poetry Writing with Nora Claire Miller (online Session 2 22) is a Course

Shapes: Poetry Writing with Nora Claire Miller (online Session 2 22)


$575 Enroll

Full course description

There is a separate application process for this course. If you have not been accepted into the Iowa Young Writers' Studio online Summer Residential Program you are not eligible to enroll.

Poetry Writing with Nora Claire Miller: Shapes

In this generative workshop, we will be exploring poetic craft through the lens of shapes. To those of you who, like me, are not “math people”—don’t worry, we will not be doing geometry. Instead, we will be tracking shapes within poems. Because when it comes down to it, poetry is made of shapes: letter shapes and word shapes, stanza shapes and line shapes. Some poems take on formal shapes: pantoums and poets’ theater, sestinas and concrete poems, ghazals and sonnets. Poem shapes aren’t always just physical, either—many poems engage with rhetorical shapes, borrowing from the structures of music or jokes or plays. Through daily writing exercises, we’ll survey the shapes that our poems make and try our hands at some new ones. We will write in shapes old and novel: from prose poems to poetry comics to zines to shapes that we invent ourselves. As we write, we will consider how the forms of our poems influence their content (and vice versa). We will also use shapes to perform revisions, crafting new perimeters for old poems. In addition to writing exercises, we will read poems by poets who wrote in new or unexpected shapes, even when those shapes broke rules or norms. We will also study poets who borrowed the shapes of other people’s poems: some in homage, some in protest, and some just in conversation. Among the poets we will read are Gertrude Stein, Gwendolyn Brooks, N. H. Pritchard, Joy Harjo, CAConrad, Alice Notley, Harryette Mullen, Daniil Kharms, and Emily Dickinson. We’ll also look at lots of things that aren’t poems, from sound art to stand-up comedy, and consider how their structures can help inform the shapes we make in our writing. This class will be heavily participatory. Campers will share daily writing assignments on our course site, participate in in-depth discussions about craft, and give one another detailed feedback. In addition to our daily asynchronous lessons, we will also endeavor to have at least a couple of live sessions over Zoom. Alongside our course site, we will have something called a “Discord server,” which I am told will help us “instant message.” Each poet will leave the workshop with a portfolio of new poems in a variety of shapes—and, just as crucially, with a community of writers to share them with.

Nora Claire Miller is a poet and multidisciplinary artist and the author of the chapbook LULL (2020). Nora’s poems can be found Bennington Review, Hobart, Prelude, Tagvverk, and other places. Recently, Nora’s poem “In the Far Present” was selected by Douglas Kearney as runner-up for the 2021 Quarterly West Poetry Contest. In 2020, Nora was the winner of a Bat City Review Editor’s Prize. Nora is currently based in Western Massachusetts, where they serve as editor-in-chief of Ghost Proposal, a chapbook press and journal. In their spare time, Nora enjoys listening for owls in the woods, hanging out with their cat Ramona, repairing vintage lava lamps, and deep-frying poems. Nora holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a BA from Hampshire College.




The fee for this course, which includes the fee for the 2-week session of the online Summer Residential Program, is $575. Payment in full is required to enroll in the course.


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."


Cancellation Policy: If you cancel or withdraw before June 1, 2022 a $50 cancellation fee will be deducted from your refund. Thereafter no refunds are available. 




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