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Poetry Revision Lab

This course will be an open-ended exploration of revision, with the course duration to be determined. I’ll be using it to explore the possibilities of Substack, and to experiment with offering a course that has a wide range of options for different levels of student engagement. My plan is to make each weekly or bi-weekly post/lesson free for a limited amount of time, and then make accessing the archives, community, critique opportunities, and other bonuses optional paid add-ons. If you’re not familiar with Substack, the benefit of a free subscription means that you’ll get all my lessons sent to your email, where you can save them to always have access, even once they’re behind a paywall. There’s a significant benefit to being on-board from the very beginning!

Possible topics explored may include:

  • Why might one revise? Why might one decide not to revise?
  • Easy revision exercises that will shake up how you’re thinking about your poem and introduce a sense of play to what can sometimes be a very cerebral process.
  • An examination of myths about revision: which ones are useful and which are not-so-helpful, or even toxic?
  • Brenda Hillman’s simple, intuitive revision method, which I couldn’t stop thinking about after I first heard her lecture on it.
  • Russell Edson’s assertion that he didn’t revise, which I once heard him state in a seminar when he visited my MFA program. When challenged by one of the faculty members present that surely he must revise a little, he doubled down and insisted that he did not revise. At all.
  • Famous examples of revision, such as Marianne Moore’s radical changes to previously published work.
  • Detailed examples from my own work about how one poet goes about revising.
  • The role of the reader in the revision process, including what I learned from an education class on writing pedagogy and a book by Seth Godin.
  • Revising vs. rewriting the same poem (sometimes again and again and again).
  • When to decide that you’ll abandon continuing to work on a poem (in other words, declare it “done”).
  • What you can do with poems written long ago (15+ years) that feel like they belong to another person. It’s common advice to put a poem aside for awhile. Can you put a poem aside for too long?
  • What I (as a solo parent to a small child) have learned about how a poet can move her poetry forward when having absolutely 100% zero time (or extremely limited energy).

This course is intended to be the natural next step after How to Write a Poem Every Day (what to do with all these poems??!!).

When: Starting September or October 2024

Cost: To be determined, but there will be options for a variety of budgets

Instructor: Meg Hartmann

Sign up to be notified when registration for this course opens by submitting your email below. Signing up for updates does not commit you to taking the class. Which classes open in the future will depend on which classes get the most interest – so please do sign up for updates if you want to see a class happen! Entering your email for more than one class is encouraged.