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Writing a Nest: The Segmented Poem

How do long poems get written? Think of a long poem as a nest. Like an oriole, which uses whatever material is available, such as long grasses, twine, doghair. A nest poem can consist of many shorter strands that are associated through a common "theme" through images, references, motifs. For example, one component may be a short narrative, another may be an extended metaphor; another may be a ‘found poem,’ another may be a haiku, another may be a short prose paragraph…there are countless possibilities. In the first six sessions, we'll read a selection of a specific component forms from model nest poems to inspire, experiment with that form in your notebooks, and share and discuss your efforts. In the last two sessions, each participant will share their "nest' draft that each session has accumulated.

Instructor: Philip Terman is the author of six full-length books and three chapbooks of poetry, including, most recently, This Crazy Devotion (Broadstone, 2021) and Our Portion: New and Selected Poems (Autumn House, 2015). He is the co-translator (with Saleh Razzouk, of Aleppo, Syria) of Tango Under a Narrow Ceiling: The Poems of Riad Saleh Hussein (Bitter Oleander, 2022). His poems have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Poetry Magazine, The Kenyon Review, The Georgia Review, The Sun Magazine, The Bloomsburg Anthology of Contemporary Jewish Poetry, Extraordinary Rendition: American Writers on Palestine, 99 Poems for the 99 Percent. He’s a retired professor of English at Clarion University, where he directed the Spoken Art Reading Series and was co-founder and director of the Chautauqua Writers’ Festival. He currently directs the Bridge Literary Center, an organization that fosters regional writers through workshops and a journal. Terman also serves as a Writing Coach. He has collaborated with other artists, including composers, painters, and sculptors, and performs his poetry with the jazz band, The Barkeyville Triangle.


Details: Writing a Nest: The Segmented Poem takes place Mondays April 10, April 17, April 24, May 1, May 8, May 15, May 22, and May 29 from 6:30-8:30pm remotely through Zoom.

Genre: Poetry

Level: Advanced

Format: Craft and generative workshop with writing outside of class and peer feedback.

Location: This class takes place remotely online via Zoom.

Size: Limited to 12 participants (including scholarships).

Suggested Sequence: Follow this class with a craft and/or generative nonfiction workshop, a feedback course, or a publishing course.

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by December 1.

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


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