Sally Dawidoff: Poetry Workshop: Finding Your Subjects

Five Saturdays, Nov. 9-Dec. 14 (skip 11/30) 10:30 am-1 pm   CLOSED
$215 members/$245 others     Berkeley

Mary Oliver’s poetry focuses on the natural world. “Most of my poems,” said Langston Hughes, “are racial in theme and treatment.” Sharon Olds returns again and again to familial and romantic love. “My subject is War, and the pity of War,” wrote Wilfred Owen.

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Ben Jackson: Poetry Workshop: Finding a Way In

Saturday Feb. 15th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
$95 members/$110 others    San Francisco
Testimonials for Ben

Whether you are new to poetry or you are looking for deeper immersion into the art form, this class will show you a variety of ways to appreciate, learn from, and fall in love with both the reading and writing of poetry.

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Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone – Poetry Workshop

Saturday, Feb. 2: 10 am to 4 pm
$95 members/$110 others    Berkeley

For experienced and beginning poets alike, it is easy to fall into familiar ruts in style, content and form. Sometimes the search for a “voice” or “style” creates a stale veneer that masks a truer, more vibrant voice.  And it’s not always easy to figure out what to do about it.

“I think what we call a ‘comfort zone’ is really a set of patterns that we find easy to stick with due to habit or limited experience,” says David Rosenthal, “but sometimes even the smallest sideways movement can open up whole new directions we’d never considered before.”

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Julie Bruck: Fearless Poetry Workshop

9 Thursdays, Spring Session 2016 (dates TBA),  7-9:30 p.m.
$215 members/$245 others    San Francisco
Testimonials for Julie

CLASS CLOSED for Winter Session 2016. Will be offered again in the 2016 Spring Session that starts in April of 2016.

This workshop is intended for people who want to jump start their poetry practice and to keep the engine oiled. You’ll do plenty of writing and reading, and have lively discussions  about both the craft and the process of poetry.

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Fearless Poetry – Bootcamp for a day

BruckCroppedSaturday, April 24th, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  San Francisco
$95 members/$110 non-members


Waiting to be struck by an inspirational bolt of lightning can be seductive, but it gets lonely out there under the tree. “Too much waiting can dampen the spirit,” says instructor Julie Bruck. “There are other ways to get in touch with your creative muse, ways that we’ll explore in today’s workshop.” Read the rest of this entry »

Alison Luterman: Discovering Your Poetry – Uncover the Gems

alison-luterman Five Mondays, July 22-Aug. 19, 7-9:30 p.m.
$215 members/$245 others   Berkeley


“Many beginning students come to a poetry class hoping for quick critiques and suggestions for revision.  There are times when it’s right to want this, but not until you’re nearing the final draft,” says Alison Luterman.

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Poetry and Surprise

BruckCroppedOne Saturday, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  San Francisco
$55 members/$65 non-members
(this class is not currently scheduled)

“When U.S. Poet Laureate Kay Ryan decided to take up poetry,” says instructor Julie Bruck, “she began by picking tarot cards at random, writing a poem to each until she’d exhausted the deck. This, she said, was a way for her to discover her themes. By her own account, her process hasn’t changed much, but there’s a thrill that goes into unwrapping her short, highly-compressed poems that is a direct transmission of the play that goes into their making.

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Julie Bruck: Fearless Poetry, Persistent Poets and More

Hi Jane,

I recently finished Julie Bruck’s workshop, and just wanted to drop you a note to say what I know many others have said before me: that she’s fantastic! She’s able to give meaningful feedback to poets of every aesthetic and all backgrounds (post-MFA to first poetry workshop) and she’s upbeat, focused, kind, and encourages a lot of fun. I’ve taken many workshops, and I work as a creative writing teacher for high school students, and I was impressed every week by Julie’s unflagging energy and committed thoughtfulness. She’s a gem! I know why she has return students who have worked with her for years!
Best wishes,


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Berkeley Poetry Workshop: “. . . James is a terrific teacher…”

James Arthur was an outstanding teacher, one of the best writing teachers I’ve had and I’ve had quite a few!! I really liked his class [The Poem You Weren’t Expecting] and am hoping he will teach again in the fall! . . .The course met my expectations very well! It helped me come at writing poetry in new ways which I really appreciated!

Peggy Rasmussen

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Beginnings & Endings for Poets-Delight and Wisdom!

elizabeth-perry-2Sunday, April 19th, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.  San Francisco
$55 members/$65 non-members

This mini-workshop may well whet your appetite for more, in which case you may want to consider Julie Bruck’s 9-week “Fearless Poetry Workshop” on Thursday evenings in SF, or Alison Luterman’s “Magpie Poetry Workshop,” also on Thursday evenings, but in Berkeley.

Robert Frost famously wrote “a poem begins in delight and ends in wisdom.”  After you’ve drafted a poem, how do you find the true beginning–the place where the delight begins?  And how do you know when you’ve followed the poem to a wise ending?  In this workshop, we’ll examine a generous mix of how other poets have chosen beginnings and endings for their poems.  Then we’ll look at (and listen to) our own drafts, focusing on identifying the emotional starting point for the poem and how to craft an ending that enlarges the poem’s intention without sacrificing authenticity.  You’ll need a draft of a poem that you’ve been working on and a willingness to listen to your work and the work of others with an open mind. Read the rest of this entry »

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