Everything you would have learned about poetic meter, scansion, and form in an ideal graduate-level prosody course.
After two years or more of graduate classes in poetry-writing, the vast majority of us poets have actually received little or no training in a fundamental aspect of our art. And if we have, it was likely in required classes taught by poets who do not, themselves, write in meter, and don’t care much about it. There are many reasons for this situation, but the bottom line is that meter simply isn’t being taught in MFA programs.
So, it’s not surprising that many of us poets feel, deep down, the gnaw of what I call metrical insecurity — a sense that there’s something here we still need to learn. But how? Meter is a practice, like yoga. If you try to teach yourself from a book, it’s a lot harder than learning from a passionate, dedicated, inspiring practitioner who can work with you in real time and adjust your poses as needed.
In three weekly two-hour sessions, acclaimed poet Annie Finch offers the essentials you would have learned about poetic meter, scansion, and form in the ideal graduate course. It includes a clear, accessible, fun overview of everything you need to know to read, write, appreciate, and understand poetic meter as well as to teach it to others, along with interactive discussion, a foolproof system of scansion, guidance in reading metrical poetry aloud, writing exercises, and immediate personalized feedback in a workshop-like setting.
Even better, unlike some systems of metrical thought that focus almost entirely on the hegemonic, centuries-old dominant meter of English (iambic pentameter), I offer a refreshing, contemporary approach to meter focused on what I call “metrical diversity.” My classes—like my books A Poet’s Craft and Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters— treat the five basic meters of English equally, opening doors to an exciting creative engagement with a variety of rhythmic moods and energies.
Why not take this course and discover the adventure and excitement that meter can offer?
Either A Poet’s Craft or A Poet’s Ear by Annie Finch (the sections on meter are the same in both books).
Suggested Supplementary Reading
Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters, edited by Annie Finch and Alexandra Oliver
An Exaltation of Forms: Contemporary Poets Celebrate the Diversity of Their Art, edited by Annie Finch and Kathrine Varnes
Requirements: For each session, have ready a notebook and writing utensils, plenty of loose typing-size paper, and at least one pencil with an eraser.
8 weeks 1pm-3pm EST | Course based on A Poet's Ear
From 1:00pm until 3:00pm EST
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Timing: if you’d love to participate but the timing doesn’t work, watch Annie’s Spellsletter for future events, and feel free to drop a line so we can keep your needs in mind.
Financial need: Some scholarship support is available. If needed, please get in touch and we will aim to work something out.