“but as God said,
crossing his legs,
I see where I have made plenty of poets
but not so very much
Because “poetry” is one of those art forms requiring so much personal investment and because
creating and understanding poetry is SO subjective (individual and open to interpretation), each of you will
have a hand in determining the direction of the course. There are a few required components to the class, but
in general you will play a part in the decision-making and planning process on a daily basis.
First—and at the risk of sounding blunt—if for whatever reason you thought (or were told) that this
class would be a "piece of cake" or a "blow-off," you were sorely misinformed. If you don’t like reading or
writing poetry or aren’t interested in becoming (more) proficient at either, you probably shouldn’t be here. It’s
that simple. This is an ELECTIVE class. You’ve CHOSEN to be here. There’s nothing more miserable than
students who take coursework for reasons OTHER than genuine interest, particularly when the classes are
voluntary. Please decide NOW if a POETRY class 9th period EVERY day of the week is what you want to do. If
it isn’t, please consider finding another activity for yourself 9th period; if it is, let’s proceed…
Together, you will decide what you would like to accomplish before the end of the semester. You will
also set deadlines and decide how you will achieve the goals you have set. As your advisor, I will have some
input on this, but you are the driving force behind what we will do.
This course is primarily a writing workshop, but every good writer learns from other good writers.
Expect to complete an author/poet study before the end of the semester. Though “homework” in the
conventional sense isn’t a priority in this class, you SHOULD be working every day. In fact, a poet’s TRUE
avocation is observing the world, relishing language, and bringing the two—language and world—together in
meaningful ways. This is a process that will spill outside the conventional boundaries of our classroom. The
greatest lesson ANY poet needs to learn is the READINESS to write. You never know when the makings of
a good poem will arrive.
Course Requirements: This is my list of suggestions for our course goals. We will discuss this list at our next
class meeting, and you may make suggestions about this list. You will be given adequate time in class to
complete all course requirements.
Write 2 original poems per week in your “journal”
Participate in class discussions and share your poetry!
Complete a publishable, final portfolio of your original work
Complete an author study (to be presented and TAUGHT)
Contribute 5 poems to be “published” in our anthology at the end of the semester
Course Outline: Our course will be organized roughly as follows (with occasional changes as circumstances
Monday & Wednesday: Teaching & Writing Days – Depending on your goals, I will choose
different poetic techniques for you to learn about and try.
Tuesday & Thursday: Author/Poet Days – These days will be spent working on an author study
(author of your choice). You’ll find the website I’ve listed below helpful in getting a start in the
direction of choosing an author. You will be required to learn “everything” about this author through
your research. You will then “teach” us about this author and his or her talents. You will have 5
weeks to complete your research.
Friday: Publishing Day: These will be our sharing & editing days, where you share a poem with the
class orally, work with your peers to improve what you’ve already written, OR type up your pieces for
1 - 2 pocket folder – You will need this for the handouts you are given in class.
1 - 1” 3 ring binder – This should have a pocket so you can design the cover. This will be for your
portfolio at the end of the semester. I recommend purchasing sheet protectors too.
1 - Journal (composition book) – I would recommend that you choose a journal with pockets if
possible. “Regular” sized notebooks are unacceptable. Poetry is an art form and this is your canvas.
Choose something that reflects or manifests your personality. The binding must be on the side (not
MANY Pens and #2 pencils - (stick to BLUE or BLACK ink, please!)
Small “Sketching” Pads – You cannot write down your thoughts, observations, snippets of dialogue
or even new words you might encounter out in the world if you don’t have paper handy.
http://www.oswego.org/staff/ephaneuf/web/poetry.htm (please BOOKMARK this site)
Since there really isn’t any homework, your grade will be based on the following criteria:
20% Class Participation – Attend and use class time productively, contribute to class discussions,
and share your poetry.
40% Projects, Tests, Presentations – Your progress on your author study, etc. will be monitored.
40% Journals – Date your journal entries appropriately! You must write 2 poems per week in your
journal, and you will need to take notes on our “teaching days” in the back of your journals.
Your Final Exam grade will be based on the following: (NO LATES WILL BE ACCEPTED!)
25% Portfolio - of your own work
25% Presentation – of your author study
25% Final Project - class “book” of poetry
25% “Exam” - multiple choice exam (In class…if you are absent it is a ZERO!)
Extra Help & Extra Credit
I am available almost every day after school in room 141 and by appointment during the day. Please let me
know if you are planning on staying for help or need a place to work. If you’d like me to edit or read a poem
or if you simply have questions or concerns specific to the class, I can be reached via e-mail at
email@example.com. I promise to do my best to communicate with you promptly and effectively.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of NOT missing class. Discussions and workshop time suffers,
work is not turned in, and things generally get quite messy. If you are absent, act promptly upon your return
to school in order to complete missing work. As I assign little homework, the lion’s share of what we do takes
place in school. If you miss too many class days, you’ll miss work that’s near impossible to make up.
ALSO—absences on Friday Share Days are VERY costly and definitely impact your grade. I’m hopeful that you
are aware of the building’s policy regarding tardiness. Repeat lateness can disrupt YOU and THE CLASS
equally and may in fact be generally more damaging than absences. Let me put it simply. SHOW UP for
class. Class is better for your presence. When you DO show up, DO NOT arrive late. As it is the second
semester, you should now be quite familiar with the layout of the building. Three (3) lates may result in after-
school detention and WORSE YET, a conference with me.
My policy has been consistent over the years and I see no reason to change it. All work turned in late loses
one letter grade (approximately ten points) per day late. Major projects/assignment will NOT be accepted
late, as you’ll be given MORE than enough time to complete such work. Friday Share Day poems are also NOT
accepted late. In the event of family emergencies or serious illness, work extensions will be granted, but
ONLY on a case-by-case basis. It is your job to communicate with me in such situations; failure to do so can
produce dire consequences.
Stealing the creative work of another and representing it as your own is a serious offense. If you were a
college student, plagiarism would be grounds for expulsion from school (getting kicked out). Should you
choose to STEAL someone else’s work, the results will be dire: you will fail the class and you MAY be kicked
out of the class, dependent on conversations with the necessary parties. I’d rather have you submit your own,
beginner’s-level work than try to pass off the poems of some famous scribe as your own. Worse yet, many
students who plagiarize choose third-rate online work for submission. Your own work is ALWAYS the best
Passes in Room 141 are available on the metal bookcase nearest the door. If you need to leave the room,
please—DON’T ASK ME! I trust that you know where and how to execute the various functions related to the
passes. I only ask that you NOT leave during announcements, attendance or presentations; try to time your
departures so as to be non-disruptive. If the pass is available, simply take it and leave. Return passes where
you found them and try to limit out-of-room time to 5-minutes per trip unless. Also, light food and drink are
allowed in class, though you may only bring water to drink. If you intend to snack during class, it needs to be
non-disruptive, and you MUST clean up after yourself. I expect that you will be respectful of others and your