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Poetry Masterclass with Nick Twemlow

Once you’ve written the first draft of a poem, what happens next? Find out by applying for the International Writing Program (IWP)’s upcoming Poetry Masterclass, one of two free 7-week virtual poetry seminars to be taught online through IWP Distance Learning this summer.

Poet and filmmaker Nick Twemlow will lead the class, which will explore radical revision from Walt Whitman’s obsessive reconsiderations of Leaves of Grass to Elizabeth Bishop’s drafts of “One Art” as well as alternative editing strategies culled from the likes of Frank O’Hara, Robert Hass, Lyn Hejinian, and Srikanth Reddy.

“Each drafting of a piece is an opportunity to rethink its destination,” says Twemlow, an Iowa Writers’ Workshop graduate whose poetry collection Palm Trees received the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award. Poets participating in the masterclass will forego mere tinkering and push their poems into new territory. “We will embrace all kinds of revision exercises,” says Twemlow, who in addition to his work as an editor for The Iowa Review and Canarium Books, is also an accomplished filmmaker. The revision techniques explored will include everything from the investigation of outtakes and omissions to formal challenges, sonic dares, and other uppings of the poetic ante.

The masterclass is designed for poets with a significant publication history from nationally recognized small presses or magazines, and/or who have published at least one collection of poems. The course is taught entirely online, so anyone with a reliable internet connection is encouraged to apply. Fifteen writers will be selected to participate from the U.S. and abroad. So far, the IWP has received applications from these countries:


More information about the course and instructions for submitting your application are available here. Application materials, including a resume, statement of purpose, and a writing sample (5 pages of poems maximum) should be submitted via email to by May 8, 2012

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