The Rules We Break

Inside most poets is a petulant five year-old who bristles when told not to do something. This especially applies to poetry: when someone becomes too prescriptive about what it is or should be, or what it should or shouldn’t do. In this five-week online workshop, we’ll engage in the liberatory practice of pushing against rules: whether they be academic, social or personal. From leaning into writing about the moon—because there will never be enough moon poems!—to leaning into hearts, clichés and idioms, we’ll examine sample texts and look at how they conform to or buck established conventions. We’ll read poems by Ada Limón, Dianne Seuss, Emily Jungmin Yoon, Jean Toomer, Maggie Smith, Chen Chen and others, then engage in writing exercises exploring the boundaries of our rebellion. Participants will be given writing prompts to work on independently, and poems will be workshopped in an affirming environment the following week. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Wednesday, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


  • Teacher: Seth Leeper
  • Level: II
  • Dates: Feb 15–Mar 15, 2023
  • Time: Wednesdays, 6:30–9:30 pm (ET)
  • Location: online via Zoom
  • Cost: $395
  • Class size: 5–10 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, FEB 12, 2023
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off through SUN, FEB 12
Seth Leeper

Seth Leeper

Seth Leeper is a queer poet. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Sycamore Review, River Styx, Salamander, the Account, and Always Crashing. A 2022 Brooklyn Poets Fellow, he holds an MA in special education from Pace University and BA in creative writing and fashion journalism from San Francisco State University. He lives and teaches in Brooklyn, NY. He tweets @sethwleeper.