ENGL 212: Creative Writing: Poetry

Class Program
Humanities Lecture
Credits 5 Lecture Hours 55
This creative writing course focuses on writing poetry and critiquing your classmates’ poems. Through dose examination of modem and contemporary poetry, you will begin to recognize elements of craft and form and use those techniques in your own weekly poems. This course will also teach you the habits of using concrete, original, concise language as well as the etiquette of being an integral member of a workshop— skills transferable to any college course that involves writing or collaboration.
Course Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, students should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge or skills:

  1. Ascertain the potential social, cultural, and emotional meaning of modern and contemporary poems
  2. Identify literary devices—elements of craft and form as well as word play or experimentation—in poems and analyze their effects
  3. Identify historical, social, or cultural allusions in poems and explain the context surrounding the poem and the connotations evoked by certain word choices or allusions
  4. Write a variety of poems in response to prompts including multiple formal poems
  5. Use concrete, un-clichéd language and intentional word choice, paying attention to sonics, meter, and word play
  6. Use grammar, syntax, and punctuation that adheres to the conventions of standard written English and learn to break those conventions strategically and intentionally as well as how to be consistent with “rule breaking” within a single poem
  7. Identify cultural “difference” and classify a variety human experiences/narratives according to their cultural contexts with the goal of speaking and writing with a nuanced sensitivity to multiculturalism
  8. Offer both written and oral feedback on peer’s poems that is tactful and generative, with attention to specific poetic techniques and the poet’s use of concrete language
  9. Revise poems with attention to exchanging abstract language for concrete words, honing the poem’s direction and unity of imagery, as well as taking risks/willingness to take risks
  10. Develop and improve habits of lifetime literacy
Institutional Outcomes
IO1 Communication: Students will be able to communicate clearly and effectively.
IO3 Human Relations/Workplace Skills: Students will be able to demonstrate teamwork, ethics, appropriate safety awareness and/or workplace specific skills.
Course Content Outline
Instructors may choose to structure the course based around specific authors (used as models) or literary time periods or by following a logical progression of poetic (craft) terms / techniques, incorporating time to workshop student poems throughout the quarter or at the end of the quarter. At least 20% of class time should be spent workshopping student writing. One possible outline might look like:
  1. Week 1—Concrete Language
  2. Week 2—Figurative Language
  3. Week 3—Repetition, Sonics, and Word Play
  4. Week 4—Transformations (Rewriting a Myth or Fairy Tale)
  5. Week 5—Immersion Poems
  6. Week 6—Found Artifact Poems/Ekphrastic Poems
  7. Week 7—Rhyme & Meter/Sonnets
  8. Week 8—Formal Poems: Sestinas, Pantoums, & Villanelles
  9. Week 9—Workshop
  10. Week 10—Workshop
Department Guidelines

Grading Distribution should include at least 20% on identifying literary techniques in published authors and at least 40% on students’ creative work (some of which they should have a chance to revise before submitting—i.e. ALL 212 classes should have a “final portfolio”). Instructors may also choose to assign points to student critiques and, if so, should dedicate class time to instructing students on how to write a good peer-critique. Instructors may choose to include various other graded components of the class including recitations, lit analysis, poem annotations, or recitations. One suggested breakdown might look like:

20%: Quizzes and Exams (identifying and using specific techniques)
10%: Written peer critiques
20%: Oral feedback in workshop & participation in class discussion
10%: Recitations
20%: Weekly poems (graded on completion and following assignment ONLY, with extensive written feedback)
20%: Final Portfolio (revisions, including all drafts and a written letter addressing their growth)

Final Portfolio (Including a Reflection Letter) Grading Criteria

  • Poems demonstrate growth and significant/meaningful revisions
  • Poems have direction
  • Poems have a meaningful title
  • Poems demonstrate risk taking/experimentation
  • Poems use concrete (rather than abstract or clichéd) language
  • Poems use poetic techniques including intentional use of line breaks, enjambment, sonics, word play, conventions of grammar and syntax, figurative language, and imagery
  • Poems have textured emotional complexity
  • Letter uses appropriate vocabulary and has meaningful reflection