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Creating a Book: A Little Universe in Your Hands

Creating a Book: A Little Universe in Your Hands


After finishing a poetry book you love, you might wonder: how the heck does one go from a mere assortment of poems to a pulsing, sensical constellation? Undoubtedly, the poet didn’t achieve this constellation on their first try. The process of honing a manuscript into a real universe with its own laws and impulses is fascinating. In this seven-week workshop, we'll delve into these impulses to discover your book’s innate circuitry. Our classes will consist of workshopping each student’s manuscript (full-length book or chapbook) in detail, offering collective insight. We'll workshop no more than two manuscripts per class, ensuring that we spend enough time on each, and work in pairs toward the end of the course to conduct guided final reviews. As this is an advanced workshop, our critiques will be a curiosity-driven team effort, where we honor the nuts and bolts of poetry—word choice, voice, enjambment, tone—alongside the greater gestures of a poem beside a poem. To further discover each manuscript's direction, we’ll delve into order, aesthetics, intention, vision, musicality, genre, lineage and experimentation. To complement this deep dive into the creative process, we’ll also discuss publishing, working with an editor, allying one’s book with similar voices, and advocating for your work through the ups and downs of the submission process.

Workshop Details

  • Professor: Shira Erlichman
  • Dates: March 26–May 7, 2020
  • Time: Thursdays, 6:30–9:30 PM
  • Location: Park Slope (near 15 St/Prospect Park F/G)
  • Cost: $545
  • Class size: 6–8 students
  • Writing sample: working book manuscript (25–75 pages)
  • Registration deadline: SUN, MARCH 15
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off by SUN, FEB 2