Workshops I: Blank Verse

Voice, Pacing, Story

Ever had trouble reading blank verse? Hearing the beat? Understanding why anyone would choose to write by counting syllables and beats? In this workshop, students will discover the virtues and resources that have made the blank verse line the preeminent line of the English tradition, studying models from the Renaissance to the present and exploring why this remains a vital form today. Students will practice writing lines of iambic pentameter through exercises using monosyllabic words and translating prose to verse, then launch into longer poems in blank verse that tap its expressive potential for speech and story: an autobiographical poem, a third-person narrative and a dramatic monologue. Readings will include Robert Pinsky’s The Sounds of Poetry as well as poems by Wordsworth, Tennyson, Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Randall Jarrell, Seamus Heaney, Larry Levis and more.

Workshop Details



Named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture” by Brooklyn Magazine, Jason Koo is the founder and executive director of Brooklyn Poets and creator of the Bridge. He is the author of America’s Favorite Poem (C&R Press, 2014) and Man on Extremely Small Island (C&R Press, 2009). He earned his BA in English from Yale, his MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston and his PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia. The winner of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center and New York State Writers Institute, he has published his poetry and prose in the Yale Review, Missouri Review and Village Voice, among other places. He is an assistant teaching professor of English at Quinnipiac University and lives in Williamsburg.