Full course description
is an online poetry writing class for high school students. This course takes inspiration from the poet Muriel Rukeyser, who preferred to call her readers “witnesses” because it was more active: [it] “includes the act of seeing or knowing by experience.” In this six-week course, we’ll be witnesses: to each others writing, to the poems of poets like Rukeyser, Bei Dao, and Audre Lorde, to what is happening around us… and to our inner selves. We’ll ask ourselves: how does one witness the self? How have poets, historically, witnessed themselves and the world in their work? How do we witness what is happening the world? And how does this all influence our writing? Along the way, we’ll experiment with style, form, inspiration, and voice, and you’ll produce work that will be workshopped and considered by your instructor and your classmates. You'll learn basic concepts and techniques of poetic craft and emerge with some fresh writing and some workshopped pieces. No prior poetry writing experience is required, though it certainly can’t hurt. Come with a willingness to read, write, and thoughtfully consider the work of others. (Students will be required to complete weekly assignments and participate regularly in group discussions).
Danielle Wheeler was the 2010-2011 Rona Jaffe fellow in poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She currently lives in Iowa City and teaches college-level writing, rhetoric, and literature. Her first chapbook, Teenage Exorcists, is available from Slim Press Holdings, and she recently completed her first novel of the same name.