Announcing Spring 2018 Classes & Workshops and Scholarship Opportunities


The Poetry Center is pleased to announce the Spring 2018 season of classes and workshops, an exciting mix of generative poetry studios, lively workshops, and rigorous writing seminars in both poetry and prose. Registration opens for all of our classes on December 13, 2017 at 9:00am


We're also thrilled to be able to continue to offer four need-based full scholarships for the spring. The Campau/Inman scholarships program covers the full tuition cost of a course offered in the Classes & Workshops program. The scholarships are valued anywhere from $60 (for a single-session craft class) to $196 (for a six-week workshop), according to recipient interest. Application is simple, and any community member is eligible to apply for a scholarship if they can attest to personal financial need. Selection is by lottery. Applications open TODAY November 15th, and the deadline is set for December 6, so please spread the word to working writers for whom tuition would otherwise be a prohibitive financial strain.


The seven courses this season include:

Occult Poetics

with CA Conrad

Saturday 1/27

12:00pm to 3:00pm

Tuition: $78 + optional $17 to receive a personalized ritual on Sun. 1/28


How about THIS. This class, open to up to 24 students, will begin with a talk on Occult Poetics—focusing on poets, half of whom are living—on what we can all do NOW. We will then move to a full hour of generative writing and somatic experiences, to be followed by sharing, discussion, and action. After the Saturday meeting, there will be an opportunity to receive a personalized ritual from CA on the following Sunday for up to fifteen class participants (you must be enrolled in Saturday to participate in Sunday). CAConrad is the author of seven books—most recently While Standing in Line for Death, from Wave Books.


Cauterizing Wounds: Writing to Heal

with Pam Uschuk

Mondays & Wednesdays, 2/5 – 2/21

6:00pm to 8:00pm

Tuition: $196


A mixed-genre memoir class


Writing our way out of and through trauma can be like hacking through a thorn forest; it’s difficult but necessary work. Together, we will explore ways that writers before us have written about their lives being altered in ways as diverse as life-threatening disease, domestic violence, mental illness, hate crimes, genocides and wars, and more. As we pick up our falling-down selves, some of us write about it in the hopes that this literary surgery will help us and others through heartache, self-loathing, and despair. Hopefully, in this course, we'll create new ways to transform and empower ourselves through writing. This three-week intensive writing class is a combination of generative workshop and reading course, with occasional (and optional) opportunities to give and receive feedback. Participants will be provided with prompts and writing exercises, and given time to write. We will also provide feedback for participant writing as requested. Finally, we will discuss getting our writing out to the public.


Insects, Gravestones, Graves of Sand, Robots, Flowers, + Other Speakers in Poems

with Steph Burt

Wednesday 3/14

6:00pm to 8:00pm

Tuition: $60

What are the special features, powers, limits and requirements in poems whose speakers are allegorical animals, technological constructs, leaves and shoots, rocks and minerals, or other things that (outside of poems) cannot speak? What's the history in such poems, and what have they yet to do?


To Make a Human Thing

with Ada Limón

Wednesday 4/4

6:00pm to 8:00pm

Tuition: $60

With a constant focus on balance—the light and the dark, the real and the artful, the lyric and the narrative—we'll explore how to make poems go deeper, get messier, get sharper, and finally feel more real and complete to ourselves as writers. We'll read a few contemporary poems that will help inspire and guide us in our own work. With rigorous in-class writing exercises and deep readings, we'll try to break open something new while breathing life into older work. You will need a notebook or laptop, a willingness to experiment, and an open mind. 


Persona, Archetypes, + Exposure: Writing the Complicated Self

with Kati Standefer

Tuesdays 4/3 – 4/24

6:00pm to 8:00pm

Tuition: $132


There is a great temptation to airbrush ourselves on the page, to fill in the pockmarks of our flaws, and yet this leaves us not only less trustworthy on the page, but less interesting. In this nonfiction seminar, students will explore how the contradictions in their personalities—the gaps between dirty laundry and grace—are the most interesting space. In everything we write, we build a persona for ourselves; in this class, we intentionally heighten its texture. Drawing on essays by nonfiction writers like Leslie Jamison, Rian Malan, Lidia Yuknavitch, and Lauren Slater, we will enter the playground of the best and worst of ourselves, discussing how to resist both victimhood and self-flagellation, essaying emotional truths, and using age-old archetypes as a way to explore our gorgeous, contradictory selves.


Narrowing the Distance: Nurturing the Talent of Prison Writers

with Joe Watson

Tuesdays 1/30, 2/6, 2/20, 2/27, 3/13, 3/20

6:00pm to 8:00pm

Tuition: $196

Prison always has been a good place for writers,” Dan Simmons wrote in his 1989 novel, Hyperion, “killing, as it does, the twin demons of mobility and diversion.”
It’s true that many writers are born in prison, where minds are free to explore possibilities that the body cannot. But because most are incarcerated within facilities so rural and out-of-reach, the extreme isolation that prisoners endure paralyzes the drive and confidence needed to be creative. This class aims to narrow that distance, and to nurture artistic minds through mentorship. This six-week class, taught over three months by Joe Watson—an independent journalist, researcher, and former Arizona Department of Corrections prisoner—will inform and educate class participants on life in Arizona’s jails and prisons; explore creative nonfiction and poetry related to issues of mass incarceration; and coach students on how to engage with and mentor incarcerated writers through correspondence.
Participants in this class should expect to read deeply (longform and shorter works by Richard Shelton, Edward Bunker, Reginald Dwayne Betts, and others), write responsively, and, by the third or fourth class meeting, begin a sustained and ongoing correspondence with an incarcerated artist. This class is for creative writers who are eager to extend their practice of a writing life to include mentorship and connection with incarcerated writers.


Creativity Lab: Generating Writing through Sensory Engagement

with Lisa O’Neill

Saturday 3/17

10:00am to 4:00pm with lunch break

Tuition: $84

In this daylong generative workshop, we will form a creativity lab, engaging with our senses as an entry point to writing original work. Through listening to music and soundscapes, playing with tactile textures, and engaging with visual art, we will channel our bodily, psychic, and emotional responses onto the page. This course will move with a spirit of curiosity and play, and create a supportive space for brave and judgment-free experimentation with language. Most of our time together will be spent playing and generating, though we will close our day with discussion and sharing.


Again, please note that open registration for all courses begins December 13, 2017 at 9:00am. Once again this season, our Submittable electronic enrollment manager makes registration and payment simple. All courses will be live for registration via this link.


Meanwhile, you can find more information about the Classes & Workshops offerings and the Campau/Inman scholarships on our website.

See you in class!