fear of formality

ok, i'm going to just admit it: i am uncomfortable with writing in form.

though my undergraduate and mfa classes in poetry were Excellent and truly shaped my writing, there wasn't an emphasis on form, and i never read much form poetry. thus it has become a murky and somewhat scary area of poetry that i've, until now, excused myself from tackling with the thought of "free verse is what is being written right now" or "its not my strength."

so i have decided to sign up for an online writing class on form poetry.

i feel like its important to always continue learning more about my craft, and for the past three years (i graduated in '09) my learning has been primarily from reading poetry and essays on poetry; i hope that taking a class will be refreshing, a little break from my personal study on poetry.

i did a lot of research into this beforehand--i wanted something i could do online so i wouldn't have to be away from my family (which rules out most conferences and workshops), something that fits inside (and doesn't use up the entirety of) my professional development budget from the university, and something that would help me become a better poet and better teacher of poetry.

that is how i ended up at The Rooster Moans. despite the silly name (sorry, it is), they offer reasonably priced poetry workshops (ranging from $5 - $400) on a variety of special topics (persona poem, poetic sequence, form, etc) taught by accomplished writers (published, with MFAs or PhDs, and some edit well known literary magazines).

My first venture is to take Rattling the Cage in August, a four week workshop on poetic forms that incorporate repetition. though the time period is not the most convenient--it overlaps the first couple weeks of school--it is the workshop i was most interested in and that i think will help me grow as a writer the most.

i'm going to be completely honest--part of me is dreading taking this class. i'm embarrassed of my attempts at form poetry, and i'm nervous that i won't be able to learn how to write well that way. but, as bryan keeps telling me, even if i don't produce one poem that i think is worth anything, i will at least learn more about writing form poetry and i will definitely be challenging myself as a writer. and at least i don't have to worry about pantoums villanelles and the like until august rolls around...


  1. That's awesome you're going outside of your comfort zone to take this class and that you don't have to pay for it, too! I bet this class will enhance your teaching as well.

    1. thanks Erin! I can't really ask my students to write a pantoum if I can't write a half-way decent one though, you know? I'll post an update in August and let y'all know how it goes...if i survive it, ha!

  2. I'm sorry I haven't responded to your email yet about this...but I think this is super exciting and I will reply soon! I want to look at that roster (rooster? ha! bad pun) of classes. :-)

    1. yes! i'm excited/scared/dreading it lol-- a mix of emotions! its only $30 though--not too bad to get some schooling on form~! you should take it with me and we can suffer it together ;)