Everyone Knows

If you agree with Alexander Pope’s definition of poetry as being “What oft was thought, but ne’er so well express’d,” then the job of the poet is to write memorably about things that everyone knows, which is a lot harder than it may sound. This weekly drop-in class will encourage you to examine what you know and what everyone knows, with special attention paid to the use of common sayings, maxims and proverbs, like “It takes a village to raise a child” or “Time flies when you’re having fun.” Each class will begin with an examination and discussion of a model poem by poets such as W. S. Merwin, Sharon Olds, Billy Collins, Dorianne Laux and Lucille Clifton. A short writing prompt will help clear the cobwebs and acclimate you to the room. In the last half of class, there will be a longer prompt, with time for sharing and discussion at the very end. Sharing will be encouraged but optional. (Note that drop-in classes are not a forum for critique of work; students looking for critique should register for multi-week workshops.)

Drop-In Details


  • Teacher: Taylor Mali
  • Dates: Jan 10–Feb 28, 2023
  • Time: Tuesdays, 12:00–1:00 pm
  • Location: 144 Montague
  • Cost: $23 in advance / $25 at the door
    $20 for members anytime

Click Register to check the class schedule on Eventbrite—classes are sometimes canceled due to teacher unavailability. Save by becoming a member or registering in advance on Eventbrite.

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali

Taylor Mali is a a spoken word poet, teacher advocate and game designer. A four-time National Poetry Slam champion and one of the original poets on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam, he is the author of six books of poetry, including Late Father & Other Poems, and a book of essays on teaching. He is the founding curator of the Page Meets Stage reading series at the Bowery Poetry Club and the inventor of Metaphor Dice, a game that helps writers think more figuratively. He lives in Brooklyn.