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The Sonnet

The Sonnet


This online workshop will delve into the ubiquitous sonnet: a form at once elastic and strict, durable and dissolute, old fashioned and ever renewing. What once was the standard for courtly love poetry has become perhaps the most versatile vehicle for lyric thought. What is it that makes the sonnet so useful as a baseline for composition? How can working on sonnets strengthen a poet’s prosody—even if you don't wind up completing a sonnet at all? This generative workshop will help you wrestle with these questions while refining your relationship to form and content. We'll read sonnets by old masters like Petrarch, Dante, Shakespeare, Sidney, Keats, Hopkins and Millay, on up to contemporary innovators including Denis Johnson, Henri Cole, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Nick Demske and Paul Legault. At the start of the workshop, the professor will provide a video overview of the sonnet form, and each week he'll provide video and written instructions to a new sonnet assignment. Students will write a new sonnet and write/receive critiques by the end of each week. Weekly work for the course will be done asynchronously on Wet Ink, and at the end of the course, the professor will conference one-on-one with each student electronically.

Workshop Details

  • Professor: Jay Deshpande
  • Dates: April 1–May 5, 2020
  • Time: asynchronous
  • Location: online
  • Cost: $295
  • Class size: 6–12 students
  • Registration deadline: SUN, MARCH 29, 2020
  • Earlybird discount: $15 off by SUN, FEB 2