See also:
Poetry Writing Intensive
Up next:
Poetry Writing II

Poetry Writing I

Poetry Writing I

Poetry Writing I is a 10-week workshop, which includes lectures, exercises, and the critiquing of student projects. It’s for beginners or anyone who wants to brush up on the fundamentals. Farther down, you can view a syllabus for this course.

Consider it the caviar of literature: tiny eggs with tremendous taste. Or the nitroglycerin: every drop explosive. Poetry's power has endured thousands of years, captivating the most passionate souls. If you hear mermaids singing or feel the winnowing wind or see the sun rising in ribbons, then you are one of these blissful few.

To write excellent poetry, you must learn the art of packing the maximum punch with a minimum of words. Here you will learn about the specialized techniques, demands, and forms of poetry, as well as how to market your work.

If you seek to write for publication or performance, yourself or the world, we’ll show you how to write exquisite poetry.

About Poetry Writing
Poetry Writing I

This course will open your eyes to the difficulty of writing good poetry, which is the first step to actually writing good poetry.

Robert Hahn


Upcoming Classes

To ensure everyone's good health, students in NYC classes must provide proof of full Covid vaccinations (the initial series of Covid vaccines plus at least one booster). We will accept your Covid vaccine card (or a digital scan), a NY State Excelsior digital card, or another form of government-approved proof. We will contact you before class begins about showing us proof. Also, we will require masks in the classrooms and Gotham premises.

More Covid details


Registration fee $25, paid once per term

See Payment Options

To register for a 10-Week course, you need to pay in full to guarantee your place in class. Or you can pay a $95 deposit plus a $25 registration fee (total $120) to temporarily hold your place, but tuition must be paid in full 10 business days before your class starts or you risk losing your spot.



This course gives you a firm grounding in the basics of poetry craft and gets you writing one or two poems. Course components:
     Writing exercises
     Workshopping of student projects (each student presenting work two times)

New York City/Zoom classes
The syllabus varies from teacher to teacher, term to term. Many topics will be similar to those covered in the Online classes.

Online classes 
Week 1
Introduction to Poetry: What makes it poetry? Line breaks. Figurative language and imagery. Sound—rhythm, meter, rhyme. Free vs. form. Where to get inspiration.

Week 2
Line breaks: How line affects rhythm and sound. White space. Emotional impact.

Week 3
Figurative Language & Imagery: Figurative language—metaphor, simile, personification, onomatopoeia, synesthesia. Finding images. Bringing images to life.

Week 4
Sound: Rhythm. Meter. Rhyme. Repetition. Alliteration. Assonance. Consonance.

Week 5
Classic Forms: Sonnet. Sestina. Villanelle. Pantoum. Haiku. Haibun. Apostrophe. Narrative.

Week 6
Contemporary Forms: Prose poem. Found poetry. Persona. Ekphrasis. Narrative.

Week 7
Voice: Voice defined. Types of voice and vision. Finding your voice. Style. Digging deeper.

Week 8 
Imitation and Themes: Gaining inspiration and technique through imitation. Responding to themes. Drawing out your uniqueness.

Week 9
Revision: Stages of revision. Techniques for testing your work. The art of reduction. Knowing when it's done.

Week 10
Publication and the Poetry Scene: Finding homes for your work. The submission process. Participating in the poetry scene.

Note: Content may vary among individual classes.


Carmen Bugan
Carmen Bugan

Carmen Bugan is the author of the memoir Burying the Typewriter (Picador), the essay collection Poetry and the Language of Opression (Oxford University), and the poetry collections Time Being, Lillies from America, Releasing the Porcelain Birds, The House of Straw (all Shearsman Books), and Crossing the Carpathians (Carcanet Press). Her poems and essays have appeared in the Irish Times, the Harvard Review, the International Literature Quarterly, the Nieman Storyboard, and the anthologies Centres of Catacylsm (Bloodaxe Books), See How I Land (Heaven Tree Press), and Penguin’s Poems for Life (Penguin). She has taught at Grand Valley State University, the University of Fribourg, the Geneva Writers’ Group, and Oxford University. She holds a BA from the University of Michigan, an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and a Master’s and Ph.D, both in English Literature, from Oxford University.

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Matthew Lippman
Matthew Lippman

Matthew Lippman is the author of the poetry collections Mesmerizingly Sadly Beautiful (Four Way Books), A Little Gut Magic (Nine Mile Books), The New Year of Yellow (Sarabonde Books), Monkey Bars (Typecast), Salami Jew (Racing Form Press), and American Chew (Burnside). His poems have appeared widely in such journals as The American Poetry, Tin House, and Seneca Review. He has taught at the University of Iowa, Westchester Community College, Columbia University, Roslyn High School, and Beaver Country Day School. He holds a BA from Hobart College, an MFA in Poetry from the University of Iowa, and an M.Ed. from Columbia University.

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Michael Montlack
Michael Montlack

Michael Montlack is the author of the poetry collections Cool Limbo and Daddy (NYQ Books) and editor of the Lambda Finalist essay anthology My Diva: 65 Gay Men on the Women Who Inspire Them (University of Wisconsin Press). His poetry has appeared in North American Review, Prairie Schooner, The Offing, Poet Lore, Barrow Street, Court Green, and Los Angeles Review. He holds a BA from Hofstra University, an MFA from the New School, and an MA from San Francisco State University, all in Creative Writing and Literature.

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