This weekly drop-in class will offer a buffet of approaches to writing poems—open to writers of any level. We’ll use different model poems and prompts to generate new writing each week, focusing on various forms and themes, including narrative poems, list poems, odes, rants, elegies, abecedarians, acrostics and others. We’ll consider the many places a poem begins, and how the incitements of form and association nudge its direction down the page. Clarity of images, ideas and close observation of the outside world and inner voice will center our discussions. We’ll prize process and practice above the poem as a finished product. One ambition for the hour will be for everyone to begin a poem they can return to and develop on their own. 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.)
Jessica Greenbaum’s first book, Inventing Difficulty, was awarded the Gerald Cable Prize and praised by George Steiner as a “first book by a poet very much to be listened to.” Her second book, The Two Yvonnes, was chosen by Paul Muldoon for the Princeton Series of Contemporary Poets and recognized by Library Journal as one of the Best Books of Poetry in 2012. Her most recent book, Spilled and Gone, was recognized by the Boston Globe as a Best Book of 2021. She is the coeditor of the anthologies Mishkan Haseder: A Passover Haggadah and Tree Lines: 21st century American Poems. A recipient of awards from the NEA and PSA, she teaches inside and outside academia, including at Barnard College, Vassar, Dorot’s UWS senior center and both Central Synagogue and Congregation Beth Elohim in Brooklyn. As a social worker she has also taught poetry with communities who have experienced trauma.