First Class Meeting of Constraint-Based Writing

In this eight-week class, participants will be introduced to a variety of constraints or “generative engines” and will go on to use them to compose poems. Constraints are methods of composition that will, ideally, propel your writing forward into places you may or may not have anticipated it to go. You will focus on methods of composition that privilege discovery rather than inspiration to (re)focus your attention on facets of language you may otherwise overlook. For the purposes of the class, we will value play as an agent of creative production, which is to say, participants will not only write, but, hopefully, have fun doing so! In addition to writing, we will read and discuss writing that uses generative engines, including poems by Joe Brainard, Carolyn Forché, Harryette Mullen, Cathy Wagner, Anne Carson, Christian Bök, Cathy Park Hong, Louis Zukofsky, Inger Christensen, and various Oulipo practitioners. This class is geared toward all levels of writers, from the experienced writer who wants to explore new compositional strategies or who is in a rut to new(er) writers who want to discover various methods of composition and the breadth of compositional possibilities.

Click here for a full Classes & Workshops schedule.