What Do I Call This Thing: On Titling Your Poems

“ok but what the fuck is the title of this new poem supposed to be” — Chen Chen (@chenchenwrites), 01/27/21, 10:12 PM. Tweet.

Sometimes we’re blessed and a poem comes to us title first. Sometimes we’re lucky and the poem gives us the title as we’re writing it. More often than not, though, we’re stuck staring at our new creation pondering one of the most difficult questions of creation: what do I call this thing? In this three-hour, online workshop, we’ll explore different methods of crafting a title and discuss when it’s useful to use each. We’ll think about how our titles interact with the body of our poems and how we can leverage this as a tool in our writing. We’ll discuss long titles, short titles, titles that provide context, titles that add confusion, titles that flow into our poems, and all things title-related. Students should plan to bring a poem to class that they’ve been struggling to title.

Workshop Details


  • Teacher: renée kay
  • Level: I
  • Date: Mar 29, 2023
  • Time: Wednesday, 6:30–9:30 pm (ET)
  • Location: online via Zoom
  • Cost: $95
  • Class size: 5–10 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, MAR 26, 2023
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off through SUN, FEB 12
renée kay

renée kay

renée kay (they/them) is a queer poet in Western Massachusetts by way of Brooklyn, Appalachia and other beautiful, strange places. Their work can be found in Copper Nickel, HAD, Catapult and elsewhere, and they were recently selected as a semifinalist for Southeast Review’s Gearhart Poetry Contest. They graduated from the University of Tennessee with a BS in Quantitative Methods in Economics and Math. In lieu of continuing with higher-ed, they chose an ongoing MFA of engagement and have been lucky enough to learn from Jay Desphande, Natalie Eilbert, Shira Erlichman, Paul Tran and others. In 2020, they worked with Angel Nafis in Catapult’s year-long poetry intensive. They currently serve as deputy director at Brooklyn Poets.