“Combining observation and contemplation, inner and outer worlds, wit and heart, a compelling sonnet shines like a tiny jewel,” says instructor Kathleen McClung. “Contemporary poets—Terrance Hayes, Marilyn Nelson, Kim Bridgford, Molly Peacock, and many others—continue to reclaim this ancient yet durable form to reflect our complicated 21st century lives.”
In our mini-workshop we will read and discuss a selection of provocative and accessible recent sonnets—those that follow a traditional rhyme and meter as well as more experimental variations. Paying close attention to language, punctuation, line breaks, titles, and other elements, we will write new sonnets, both those that abide by rules and those that smash them.
Kathleen says, “By the end of our three hours together, you’ll come away with a deeper understanding of the sonnet’s power and possibilities, drafts of a couple sonnets of your own, and strategies for crafting more in the future.”
Kathleen McClung is the author of two poetry collections, The Typists Play Monopoly and Almost the Rowboat. Her work appears widely in journals and anthologies including Southwest Review, Naugatuck River Review, Mezzo Cammin, The MacGuffin, Forgotten Women, Sanctuary, Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California, and elsewhere. Winner of the Rita Dove, Morton Marr, Shirley McClure, and Maria W. Faust national poetry prizes, she is a Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee. Associate director of the Soul-Making Keats literary competition, she has mentored hundreds of writers at Skyline College, The Writing Salon, and other colleges and has taught/advised student teachers in the credential program at Mills College. For ten years she has directed Women on Writing: WOW Voices Now on the Skyline campus. In 2018-2019 she is a writer-in-residence at Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
- Saturday, February 01, 10:00am-1:00pm
Currently I do readings and take any poetry class that Kathleen teaches. I learned to give and receive feedback in Kathleen's class, which allowed me to feel safe reading my work to strangers. In giving feedback I found that focusing on the strengths in a piece was the best place to start and that noting where I felt confused or disconnected often helped the writer tighten the work. Receiving feedback, I found that simply listening and recording the comments, without justifying or explaining, works the best.
I really like Kathleen's teaching style. She's a great communicator, and is supportive and constructive in her instruction. All of us in this class benefit from her breadth of knowledge about poetry. As a new poet, I have gained a new understanding of poetry through exposure to many different styles; and while daunting, the confidence to submit my poems.