Origins and Closures

What moves us to begin a poem and how do we know where to end? In this five-week, online workshop, we’ll consider the function of a first line and how it entices the reader, and what makes a last line unforgettable, haunting and reverberating. With the goal of writing openings and closures that shake, disturb and transform the reader, we’ll further develop our intuition as a searchlight that guides us into the openings of our poems and journeys us towards shimmering ways out. We’ll look at a variety of poems with specific attention to their opening and closing lines and stanzas, including the work of poets such as Denise Duhamel, Yona Harvey, Marie Howe, Ada Limón, Etel Adnan, Eduardo C. Corral, Mark Strand and more. We’ll draft and workshop four new poems with a deeper understanding of how to write compelling openings and closings. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details

  • Teacher: Carlie Hoffman
  • Level: I
  • Dates: Nov 5–Dec 3, 2023
  • Time: Sundays, 2:00–5:00 pm (ET)
  • Location: online via Zoom
  • Cost: $395
  • Class size: 5–10 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, OCT 29, 2023
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off through SUN, SEP 10
Carlie Hoffman

Carlie Hoffman

Carlie Hoffman is the author of When There Was Light (Four Way Books, 2023) and This Alaska (Four Way Books, 2021), winner of the NCPA Gold Award in poetry and a finalist for the Foreword Indies Book of the Year Award. A poet and translator, she is the translator of the monograph Weiße Schatten/White Shadows: Anneliese Hager (Atelier Éditions, 2023) and her honors include a 92Y Discovery Poetry Prize and a Poets & Writers Amy Award. Her work has been featured in Los Angeles Review of Books, Poetry Daily, Kenyon Review, Boston Review, New England Review, Jewish Currents, the Slowdown and other publications. She has taught at Columbia University and NYU and is currently a lecturer of creative writing at the State University of New York–Purchase College. Hoffman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Small Orange Journal.