Intentional Accidents: Playing with Form in Free-Verse (Advanced)


6 Thursdays
Writing Poetry Online
with Cate Marvin
Jan 25 to Feb 29
6 to 9 pm

Availability: In stock

Grackle art by Sarah Knight

In this advanced/master class, participants will explore variations in form in their free-verse work as they write and workshop new poems.

With a steadfast eye on the relationship between style and content, the class will explore the myriad ways that form in free-verse can transform or expand a poem’s possibilities.

In addition to crafting their own formal strategies from real world examples, participants will also have the opportunity to work with received forms. Discussions will naturally extend to the verse line and how it operates within free-verse poems.

This course is designed to sharpen poets’ attention to form and its interplay with content. The class will read a variety of poems, by poets such as Denis Johnson, Marilyn Hacker, Terrance Hayes, and many others.

  • For the first class, participants should bring a completed poem that they found difficult to execute with regard to form (line breaks, stanza breaks, etc.). In class, they will respond to these poems with a writing exercise, the results of which will supply the material for their first assignment.

  • Participants should be prepared to write a poem a week. Every week, the instructor will provide an optional assignment modeled on a poem discussed in class. Participants’ poems will be workshopped every other week, for a total of two poems over the course of 6 weeks.

  • Each week’s session will include a writing prompt, workshopping, and discussion of several texts.

+ SUBMIT After registering, participants are asked to submit a manuscript of up to 3 poems by no later than 9:00 AM on January 9. These poems will not be workshopped; the instructor will be reading them to get a sense of your work. Please email the manuscript to with the subject line: “MARVIN WORKSHOP MSS.” *Word docs (ideally) or PDFs only, please.

Cate Marvin
published her first two poetry collections, World’s Tallest Disaster (2001) and Fragment of the Head of a Queen (2007) with Sarabande Books. Her third book, Oracle, which appeared from Norton, was named a New York Times Best Poetry Book of 2015. She has been a Whiting Award Recipient and a Guggenhiem Fellow. Her most recent book, Event Horizon, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2022. She is a professor of English at the College of Staten Island, City University of New York, and serves as a faculty mentor at the Stonecoast Low-Residency M.F.A. Program. She resides in Scarborough.


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