University of Iowa

Craft & Vision: A Poetry Workshop

Weekend July 21 to July 22 2018

If we think of a poem as a bird, the two wings of that bird are craft and vision. (“Vision” loosely defined as a poem’s “revelation” about some facet of experience; and craft, the vehicle to deliver that revelation.) “Craft or vision?” is often the first question I ask when I see a poem faltering—a crucial question, for no refinement in craft can fix a vision problem, just as “profundity” can’t overcome faulty craft.


The emphasis in this workshop will be on the poems of participants, learning to see with new eyes (and surprising speed) what is holding them back and what could help them. Each participant will offer two poems for critique, though the goal of course is to come away with new capacities for improving all our poems.