Sunday, November 13, 2022

Watching the students in my creative-writing course begin to distinguish themselves from each other.

At the beginning of the semester in my creative-writing course on poetry and songwriting (whose title's stolen from an Al Stewart song, "Songs and Poems Were All We Needed"), most of the students write very similar poems, very conventionally "poetic", with end-stopped rhyming lines. In my comments, I highlight their flashes of individuality, and I give them exercises to push toward other ways to write – in forms and in free verse, with more images and storytelling, with fewer abstractions, with more surprising language. And always, about halfway through the semester, the poems begin to change, and the students begin writing poems that are more singular and individual than when they started. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 13 November 2022)

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