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“Poets in every stage of their career, and often on a regular basis, struggle with where and how to start a poem,” says instructor Brian Tierney. “I’ve found that creating boundaries for the writing process is a good way to spark inspiration and creativity. Sometimes, limiting what you can and cannot do on the page can be a generative force for writing new poems.”
Throughout this 5-week course, participants will work on producing brand-new material from a series of weekly prompts, each of which will offer a different set of thematic, formal, and structural boundaries to help jumpstart their writing process. The goal for each week is to nudge poets out of their comfort zones to produce by limitation. Participants will also be asked to keep a weekly writing journal that reflects on how the prompts have affected their writing and what they’ve learned about their own writing tendencies, which the prompts are meant to disrupt.
This class will not focus on fixed forms, but instead will help participants reinvigorate their creativity by offering strategies for how to begin and, in that way, how to break free from default writing habits, discovering new entry points to the writing of poems. All writers are welcome.
Brian Tierney is the author of Rise and Float, winner of the 20-2021 Jake Adam York Prize (Milkweed, forthcoming Feb. 2022). His poetry and prose have appeared in such journals as Paris Review, Kenyon Review, AGNI, NER, The Adroit Journal, and others. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, and a graduate of the Bennington College MFA Writing Seminars, he was named among Narrative Magazine’s 2013 “30 Below 30” emerging writers, and is winner of the 2018 George Bogin Memorial Award from The Poetry Society of America. Raised in Philadelphia, he lives in Oakland, Ca., where he teaches poetry at The Writing Salon.
- Thursday, August 16, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, August 23, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, August 30, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, September 6, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- Thursday, September 13, 7:00pm-9:30pm
- This is an enthusiastic endorsement for Brian - I'm a long time educator so I know what to look for. Brian is well planned, knowledgeable and reflective. He's sensitive to the class and to individual needs as well as leading us to a wider appreciation of poetry and helping us to feel our way to what 'good' poetry means. He is careful not to get in the way of our individual creative processes nor to be too prescriptive. I recommend him without reservation.
Even before receiving his academic-quality syllabus and opening day readings, I knew Brian was the real thing. He was prepared, organized, thoughtful. He displays vast poetic knowledge, in an engaging manner, such that everyone learns and hones skill, even tho each poet's playing field varies. Brian also has a commendable grasp of group-facilitation, moving disparate thinkers and writers, of all ages, abilities, attitudes, and anguish - to dwell in their work, go deeper, workshop the writing, re-work it.
I am enjoying Brian's style and content very much, and feel I am growing because of his input and the way he draws the other students out to share their perceptions and their experiences. He seems very serious, well prepared, and eager to share his knowledge and expertise.