The University of Iowa

The Poetry of Prose

Weekend July 18 to July 19 2020

The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor. My hate is like ripe fruit. The art of losing isn’t hard to master. If you’re like me, you return again and again to those passages from poetry and prose you can’t forget. Like me, you might be wondering, “What exactly makes those words so memorable, and how can my own writing be more like that?”


As preparation for this weekend retreat, I will ask you to bring several of your favorite lines, sentences, and longer passages from poetry and prose. We will begin by reading them aloud, looking for refrain, imagery, metaphor, voice, rhythm, even rhyme. Then, through guided writing sessions, we will practice these skills to refresh our own lines (whether in memoir, fiction, or poem), to make our writing more lyrical, and therefore more eternal. Perhaps we will shed old writing habits—a certain tone or unvarying sentence length—to create new ways of reflecting the world.


No earlier writing or experience is required, but feel free to bring work-in-progress you would like to revisit.


In this workshop, we will generate new writing through exercises and assignments; critique writing you bring from home; provide feedback on writing you produce in our weekend.