Virtual Poetry Seminar

Course Description

"The world is a mist," writes Elizabeth Bishop, "And then the world is / minute and vast and clear." In this poetry course we will examine the world in its simultaneous mist and clarity. We will embrace poetry's embrace of the contradictory, the mysterious, the shifting, the irrational. We will read modern and contemporary poems that convey complex experience through a wide range of formal strategies, discovering and discussing the different modes of thought that poems' differing modalities inspire. Readings will include poems from Francis Ponge, Gertrude Stein, Elizabeth Bishop, Michael Palmer, among others. Weekly writing exercises will be designed to broaden the scope of each student's poetry and to generate vivid new work through formal, rhythmic, and imagistic discovery. Students will receive regular feedback on their writing.


Fifteen poets hailing from Canada, China, India, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Philippines, Saudi Arabia, and the United States took part in the seminar. Participants were selected from among a pool of nearly 150 applicants representing twenty-eight countries.



Margaret ROSS is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Boston Review, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Iowa Review, and Volt. She has taught poetry courses at the University of Iowa as a third-year teaching fellow and most recently at Cornell College.

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