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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 a former Wallace Stegner Fellow in poetry at Stanford University. He is a graduate of the Bennington College’s MFA Writing Seminars, and holds a BA in English and Journalism, as well as an MA in Literature, from Duquesne University, where he was a teaching fellow and, later, an adjunct instructor in Literature and Composition. Brian’s work has appeared in Kenyon Review, FIELD, Poetry Northwest, Gettysburg Review, Best New Poets, AGNI, The Rumpus, and others. In 2013, Narrative magazine named him among its “30 Below 30” emerging writers.

  1. Thursday, April 5, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  2. Thursday, April 12, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  3. Thursday, April 19, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  4. Thursday, April 26, 7:00pm-9:30pm
  5. Thursday, May 3, 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.



Friday, April 6, 2018 @ 2:00 am
Friday, May 4, 2018 @ 4:30 am
Event Category:


San Francisco
2042 Balboa St.
San Francisco, CA United States
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Registration Deadline

Registration closes 24 hours before the start time for a class.

Cancellation Policy

10 days or more before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 10% fee OR a refund minus a 20% fee.

3-9 days before the start date for a class, the registrant will receive a credit minus a 20% fee OR a refund minus a 30% fee.

2 days or less before the start date for a class, the registrant will not receive a credit or a refund.

The Writing Salon cannot provide refunds, transfer payments, or offer makeup sessions for classes a student might miss, for any reason.

Due to extraordinary circumstances related to COVID-19, we are open to addressing cancellations on a case-by-case basis.

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