Low-Residency MFA Degree
Working the Beat: How to Make Poems Sing
24 Pearl St, Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center
Fall 2017, Dates TBA
It can be tempting to think of rhythm, meter, or form as a container, something outside and separate from a poem. But the best poems sing with rhythms that move them as innately and mysteriously as waves work the water. Whether or not you’ve written in meter before, these powerful rhythms are there in your poems already.
In this one-week intensive course, we will trace the patterns that already move through your lines, whether in free verse or form, and unpack the dynamics of the energies they carry. By working the beat, you will have the chance to explore and connect with the deepest structures driving your poems. You will discover voices you never knew you had—and a sure and instinctive path to fresh and exciting revisions. Following the course, each student will receive an email talking about the strengths of their work, with ideas about moving forward.
Recommended Advance Reading: A Poet’s Craft
Comments From Annie's Online Workshop Students
An incredibly valuable workshop, This isn't my first poetry class, but it's been the most transformational. Many thanks. I will miss this class.—Barbara B., "Working the Beat: How to Make Poems Sing"
This was a wonderful week. I've never done an online workshop before, and I didn't know what to expect, but this was a great experience.
—Susan R., "Working the Beat: How to Make Poems Sing"
Raves for a great class and experience!
—Jeffrey B, "Working the Beat: How to Make Poems Sing"
“Annie Finch opened my eyes to what I previously couldn’t see—you can’t do much better than
that. . . she is an excellent teacher, passionate about poetry, responsive to questions.”
“Annie has so much to teach; her great passion and talent set a tone of respect for us, for the
work, and for poetry and its history. She is the consummate teacher.”
“I don’t exaggerate when I say that taking part in this workshop was one of the best experiences
I’ve ever had. . . I learned so much—I can’t even describe how much.”
“Annie Finch is a wonderful teacher of poetry, a warehouse of poetic knowledge.”
“Annie was extremely generous and helpful in pointing out what worked in a poem. She was also very frank about what wasn’t working. She let ALL participate and have a voice in the critique of a poem, and she treated everything said with respect without sacrificing honesty or her opinions.”
“Annie is a force of nature. In addition to having an encyclopedic knowledge of forms, she has an uncannily instinctive sense of what makes a poem work, both logically and musically. Annie’s warmth and generosity make the learning process a real treat.”
“The class was an absolute revelation.”
“This workshop was memorable, indeed, impactful. It was the best poetry workshop I have been to.”
“Annie was wonderful. She encouraged us, allowed us to try and experiment and flounder. She was never judgmental or anything less than an enthusiastic coach.”
“It was a delight. . . Annie was respectful, gentle, funny, brilliant, amazingly present to all of us. Bravo.”
“You really inspired me, and that is what I think a teacher is all about. You made me want to go out and ask myself and those around me, "what more can we do." “
“I was very pleased with how Annie ran the workshop. . . Both my poems and my opinions were treated with respect, and the workshop became a truly collaborative experience.”
“Your workshop was by far the greatest workshop I've ever attended. I'm grateful to have you in my corner.”
“Annie is an inspiration to all aspiring poets!”
"A Poet’s Craft is an MFA program for the autodidact. . . it sounds the way Annie speaks, and it teaches poetry students to learn by reading closely…without exhortations, just gently slipping into examples and asking the right questions."
—Ann Michaels, Canadian Poet and Novelist
"A Poet’s Craft is nothing less than an MFA program in 600 pages."
-G.M. Palmer, The Critical Flame