As we know, poems of all kinds—including those written in both open and received form—derive much of their power from four basic elements of craft: the image, metaphor, sound and repetition, and the line. Working in syllabics (in which line lengths are determined by counting syllables) provides both a flexible structure in which to focus on these elements and an excellent, friendly introduction to some of the uses of received form. No previous experience or knowledge of syllabics is required, and even if you’ve found received form constraining in the past, our work together this weekend will offer practice and tools you can apply to whichever kinds of poems you prefer to write. This is a generative course in which you’ll work with exercises and models to develop new drafts you’ll be able to take home.
Susan Aizenberg is the author of three poetry collections: Quiet City (BkMk Press); Muse (Crab Orchard Poetry Series); and Peru in Take Three: 2/AGNI New Poets Series (Graywolf Press). She is co-editor, with Erin Belieu, of The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women (Columbia University Press). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in many journals, among them North American Review, Numero Cinq, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Blackbird, Connotation Press, Spillway, The Journal, Midwest Quarterly Review, Hunger Mountain, Alaska Quarterly Review, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. They have been reprinted and are forthcoming in several anthologies, including New Poetry from the Midwest (New American Press), Ley Lines (Wilfrid Laurier UP) and Wild and Whirling Words: A Poetic Conversation (Etruscan). Her awards include a Crab Orchard Poetry Series Award, the Nebraska Book Award for Poetry, Virginia Commonwealth University’s Levis Prize, a Distinguished Artist Fellowship from the Nebraska Arts Council, the Mari Sandoz Award from the Nebraska Library Association, and a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner award. Aizenberg is Professor Emerita (creative writing and English) in the Creighton University M.F.A. and undergraduate creative writing programs and now lives and writes in Iowa City. She serves as U.S. Poetry Editor for Numero Cinq and can be reached through her website: susanaizenberg.com.