Syllabus for English 247/8/9 - Writing Poetry
Welcome to Writing Poetry. This course is suitable for beginners and seasoned writers.
I am your instructor. My name is Julianne Seeman
I am a practicing, and well published, poet. I have taught this course for many years, and I still love teaching it.
You can reach me at email@example.com or on our course site
Please print off a copy of the Syllabus and keep it in your notebook so you can easily refer to it.
Your Syllabus is a lot to take in at one sitting. It is also formidable in tone, length and content. Think of it as our contract for our course. My goal is to be as clear as I can so that you know what to expect from our time together.
After you have printed out your Syllabus, please take the time to read it through at least twice. Then read it again, jotting down any questions that you have.
Email me your questions right away on our course site. To access our course email, click on the Mail icon on your tool bar.
What You Will Need for Our Course
In addition to a passion for poetry, a desire to learn, and time,
you will need
1. Drake: Writing Poetry, paper
2. Ted Kooser: The Poetry Repair Manual: Practical Advice for Beginning Poets
You will also need
1. A reliable computer, an internet connection, and Microsoft Word. Please do not use Works or Work Perfect for this course. If you do not have Word, you can save your work in RTF (Rich Text Format)
2. Computer back-up, a CD and/or Thumb drive on which to save up your work for this course. There is little worse than having our computer crash and losing all of your work. (It happened to me last summer when lightening melted my hard drive)
3. A notebook for your writing journal. Pick one you like as well as a pen that feels good to write with.
4. A regular place, free from distractions, including conversation, radio, TV, WII, and internet games, where you can complete your work for this course. Ideally you will want a desk or a table in your favorite coffee shop where you go at the same time to write, that says ‘write’ to you each time you sit down. I find my writing desk is a good place for this because once I sit down, I expect to write, and that expectation seems to help me get started and overcome my natural procrastination.
By the end of the quarter you will Have learned about
What You Will Do in Our Course
1. This class is conducted entirely on-line; therefore, you are not required to attend classroom sessions. However, this is not a correspondence course to be completed on your own timetable in isolation. How much you learn will be directly proportional to how much you participate in the online community, how well you manage your time, and how well you follow written directions.
2. If you are not sure whether or not an online course is right for you, complete the following questionnaire: http://distance-ed.bcc.ctc.edu/webassess/
How We Will Communicate in Our Course
*This is an entirely on line class. You can contact me only at my campus email or on our course site.
If VISTA goes down, email me at my campus email.
I check my email and our course site often. I will try to get back to you right away and always within 24 hours. If for some reason I must be off line, I will ask Distance Ed to contact you.
Always keep me informed if you have problems. If you are not able to contact me, ask a friend or family member to do so.
Always be courteous and respectful to me and to your classmates. Emails and discussion board posts cannot be taken back. Please write all of your correspondence with care and courtesy; don't send emails or posts that you might later regret. Please keep in mind that even if you're thick-skinned, many of your classmates are not and shouldn't have to be. Any student who seriously disrupts the learning environment of our class will be referred to the College Disciplinary Officer asked to withdraw.
How to Approach Writing in Our Course
You will find that doing a piece of writing over several sessions, for some time each day will give you the best results. That’s because although everybody write, writers rewrite. Writers also write every day, usually at the same time. If your first draft looks perfect, set it aside, let it cool off for a day or two. First drafts seldom age to perfection. You will probably want to go back and make changes, then let it age again.
A word of caution: In the adrenalin-rush of creation, last minute work and first efforts may seem brilliant, but in the bright light of day, they usually glare ‘last minute’ and ‘first draft’. You will find that your readers will soon become impatient when they are asked to give careful consideration to hastily crafted poems masquerading as finished work. More to the point, your grade will also suffer.
How to Submit Work for Our Course
Discussion Board topics: Write first in your journal. Open the Topic Box. On the top line, write your name and the subject of your writing. Use your the notes you have made in your journal to write an essay of no more than 300 words into the topic box. Check your work for sentencing, spelling and grammar.
Poem: Submit your work as an Attachment
Write your poem in a doc file. Include a Header with your name, date, and the assignment: i.e.: John Smith, Week 2, Sept. 28, Childhood Memory. Give your poem a title, centered, in bold. Single space your lines. Two spaces between stanzas, if you have more than one. Check for spelling and grammar.
Work for the Assignment Module: Send your work as an Attachment.
This includes your essay on two poets, your response to the poetry reading, and your portfolio.
Write your work in Word, in Standard College Format, Header, page numbers, Title, double spaced, no more than 350 words/page.
Check for spelling, grammar and mechanics.
Save your work in Word 97-2003; submit as an attachment to preserve formatting.
How I Will Grade your Work
You will earn 10 points for attending and responding to the poetry reading rather than a grade. I will also not grade your journal.
I will grade the rest o f the work you do for our class on a 4.0-0.0 scale.
It is always a challenge to grade creative work, and we all begin at different places in our writing. Nevertheless, this is a college transfer course so we want and need to have our work evaluated.
You may revise each poem once, if you wish, in order to try to raise the grade. You will also be required to revise three poems during the quarter.
When I read your work, I will be looking for the following:
The best way to improve your writing is to write. Every day.
Trust me, it works. Students who keep daily journals become better writers.
As the writer, Dorianne Laux, put it, “‘I have no idea of the usefulness of these scribbling to others, I know journal writing works for me in the sense that on a daily basis I am taking what happens in my head, running it down through my heart, then up through my shoulder, down my arm, and into my fingers that hold the pen. I like the physicality of writing by hand, the act of translating what I’m feeling and thinking into words on paper. Writing daily, or almost daily, no matter what comes out, makes me feel whole, purposeful, balanced, scrubbed clean. There is so much about the process of writing that is mysterious to me, but this is one thing I’ve found to b e true: Writing begets writing. “
So much for theory; now to the practice
1. Begin each day’s entry with the date and notation about the weather, i.e. it’s sunny, raining buckets, whatever.
2. Write @ 200-300 words each day.
3. Write about whatever you like. Grammar, style, brilliance, originality, subject don’t matter. What matters is the movement of the pen on the page. Every writer must make thousands of mistakes. Your journal is one way to get rid of a lot of them early on.
If you are a Running Start Student
You may find college expectations different from high school ones.
Please be aware that your high school counselor, parent or guardian may not contact me about your progress, work or grade in the class.
I cannot tell you your grade for our course before grades are issued by the college at the end of the quarter, even to meet graduation requirements.
You will need to meet the course expectations and due dates irrespective of your high school demands and/or commitments
Okay – let’s get started. Click on Week 1 on Your Homepage for the first week’s assignments. Please complete them as soon as you can.
Email me right away with questions.
Good Places for Poetry
Open Books: A Poetry Symposium on N.E. 45th, west of the U.W. (Just NE of Dicks Drive-in). John and Kristi own this wonderful bookstore, the only bookstore devoted to poetry in the US. It’s a great place to attend readings, to browse, to buy, and to see and chat with other poets. You can get on their mailing list and they will send you dates for readings and new poetry releases. It’s an incredibly valuable resource for the poetry community.
Hugo House, named for the late Northwest poet, Richard Hugo, who grew up in White Center and worked for Boeing for years after WWII. Hugo House is devoted to nurturing and showcasing the written arts. It’s near Seattle Central Community college and worth a drive, or bus ride, into town. They have readings and workshops, plays, Rap and street poetry, resources, and a wine/coffee bar. It’s the heart of the Seattle and Northwest writing world.
Centrum: on the old Fort Warden campus near Port Angeles, site of the annual summer writing conference. Get on their email/newsletter list. Like so many writers, I got my start working with visiting poets at Centrum. It was, and remains, a pivotal experience in my life.