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Stealing Poetry: Reading Poems into Writing Poems

Theodore Roethke said that poets should "take what you will with authority and see that you give it another life."

For example, James Wright's well-regarded poem, "Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy's Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota" couldn't have been written without his having read and absorbed Rilke's "Archaic Torso of Apollo." Rilke's last line, '"You must change your life" inspires Wright's last line: "I have wasted my life."

Like other artists and craftspeople, poets study the great practitioners who proceeded them to enhance their sensibility of what subjects and techniques are possible for them.

Poets benefit if they have the "support of tradition," which would "enable them to to be more themselves." In this workshop, each of the eight sessions will consist of our studying a model poet for influence and inspiration to write our own weekly draft, which the group will read for pleasure and discussion.

Instructor: Philip Terman’s most collections of poems are This Crazy Devotion (Broadstone) and Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House), and a co-translation (with the Syrian writer Saleh Razzouk), Tango Below a Narrow Ceiling: The Poems of Riad Saleh Hussein (Bitter Oleander). A selection of his poems, My Dear Friend Kafka, was translated into Arabic and published by Nimwa Press in Damascus, Syria. Poems and essays have been published in Poetry, The Sun, Poetry International, The Kenyon Review, The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, and other journals and anthologies. A co-founder of the Chautauqua Writers Festival, he now directs the Bridge Literary Arts Center in Franklin, PA. He has collaborated with composers, painters, and sculptors, and often performs his poetry with the jazz band, Catro. He is a retired professor of English at Clarion University of PA, where he taught courses in creative writing and literature.  


Details: Stealing Poetry: Reading Poems into Writing Poems takes place Tuesdays June 6, June 13, June 20, June 27, (no class July 4), July 11, and July 18 from 6:30-8:30pm online remotely via Zoom.

Prerequisites: Any emerging level poetry writing course 

Genre: Poetry

Level: Intermediate

Format: Generative and feedback workshop with craft elements 

Location: This class takes place online remotely via Zoom.

Size: Limited to 12 participants (including scholarships).

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by April 24.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email

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