Silence & Sound

Finding the Right Line Length

Would you say you’re closer to silence, or sound? How does writing in short lines evoke a different kind of speech, a different kind of silence, than writing in ten-syllable lines or long lines? In this six-week online workshop, students will practice writing poems in different line lengths to explore their different capacities for speech, from short-line prayer poems to decasyllabic epistolary poems to long-line incantations. Students will also practice alternating line length within the same poem and dropping punctuation, writing and workshopping five new poems total. Readings will include poems by Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman, Robert Desnos, Lynda Hull, Larry Levis, Carl Phillips, Patricia Smith, Terrance Hayes, Chiwan Choi, Jericho Brown, Aria Aber, Hanif Abdurraqib, Rachel Eliza Griffiths and more. Class sessions will meet synchronously via Zoom every Sunday night, and assignments, poems and critiques will be shared via Wet Ink.

Workshop Details


Named one of the “100 Most Influential People in Brooklyn Culture” by Brooklyn Magazine, Jason Koo is the founder and executive director of Brooklyn Poets and creator of the Bridge. He is the author of the poetry collections More Than Mere Light, America’s Favorite Poem and Man on Extremely Small Island and coeditor of the Brooklyn Poets Anthology. The winner of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Vermont Studio Center and New York State Writers Institute, he earned his BA in English from Yale, his MFA in creative writing from the University of Houston and his PhD in English and creative writing from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He is an associate teaching professor of English at Quinnipiac University and lives in Williamsburg.