Class Title: Found Poetry
Instructor: Katherine McCord
Class Term: January 14-February 25, 2019
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We will explore Found Poetry. No matter what genre you normally pursue, Found Poetry can give you new insights into your preferred genre, or it can become a focus in your life so that you can publish it in all kinds of venues. In Found Poetry you take pieces of prose and/or poetry from other works and make them new.
During the course, students will create all kinds of Found Poems, such as Erasure and Blackout. Students will send their work by group emails for responses. We will also explore the craft elements, Concreteness, Tone, Lineation and Dramatic Shape.
At the end of this class, students will be able to create various kinds of Found Poems and apply the craft elements of Concreteness, Tone, Lineation and Dramatic Shape.
Instruction/Communication Method: The students and I will use group emails for sending out their work for responses, ask questions, make comments and respond to their peers' work. All materials to create Found poems are from everyday life—magazines, signs, books, overheard conversations, lists, etc.
- Unit 1: Concreteness; Erasure Found Poem. Concreteness entails the "show don't tell" aspect of your piece. This week we'll discuss Concreteness as a craft element and the possibilities of "weighting" your piece through imagery and abstraction.
Assignment: Complete an Erasure Found Poem: a poem where a writer erases background from text leaving words that create a poem. You will email the Found Poem (or a picture of your Found Poem) to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers' poems as assigned.
- Unit 2: Tone; Blackout Found Poem. Tone is either the attitude of the speaker throughout the poem or the mood of the piece if a speaker isn't felt. This week we will discuss Tone as a craft element and the way you can express it through figurative language.
Assignment: Complete a Blackout Found Poem: a poem where a writer "blacks out" all the words in a text but the words that the writer decides creates a poem. You will email a Blackout Found Poem to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers' Blackout Found Poems as assigned.
- Unit 3: Lineation; Cento Found Poem. Lineation is the way a writer breaks the lines in a poem. Lineation can be decided by endstops, breath, enjambment or the landscape of the line, for example. This week we will discuss Lineation as a craft element.
Assignment: Complete a Cento Found Poem: a poem made of phrases, and/or word groups, etc., from other texts, etc., all to create a Cento. You will email a Cento to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers' poems as assigned.
- Unit 4: Dramatic Shape; Cut-Up Found Poem. Dramatic Shape, the first part, takes up a "kind" of poem, such as Free Verse and, specifically, the lyric poem, which, for example, can emphasize a concentrated expression. This week we will discuss the first part of Dramatic Shape as a craft element.
Assignment: Complete a Cut-up Found Poem: a poem made up of phrases, words, etc., literally cut out or torn from another text and laid out to make a poem. You will email your Cut-up Found Poem to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers' Cut-up Found Poems as assigned.
- Unit 5: Dramatic Shape II; Revision. Dramatic Shape, the second part, takes up another kind of Free Verse, the narrative, which, for example, tells a story. This week we will discuss the second part of Dramatic Shape as a craft element.
Assignment: Complete a Revision of a previous Found Poem you've created. You will email this revision to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers' revisions as assigned.
- Unit 6: Dramatic Shape III; Free Form Found Poem. Dramatic Shape, the third part, takes up Form, for example, a traditional form such as a sonnet. This week we will discuss the third part of Dramatic Shape, Form, as an element of craft.
Assignment: Complete a Free Form Found Poem: a Found Poem whereby you take any, all, or a combination of the techniques of a (or more) kind of Found Poetry to create one Found Poem. You will email your Free Form Found Poem to your instructor and peers and comment on your peers' Free Form Found Poems as assigned.
Student Skills, Equipment, and Time Required
Beginning to advanced computer skills. Beginning to advanced writing skills.
Time Commitment: 3 hours/week.
Tuition/Fees for this course
SCN members: $192. Non-SCN members: $240.
Katherine McCord has two books of poetry: Island and Living Room (prose poems); a lyric essay memoir, My CIA; a poetry chapbook, Muse Annie; and a literary memoir, Run Scream Unbury Save, winner of the Autumn House Open Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. She has published widely in literary journals, such as American Poetry Review. &mccord_fn has an MFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Creative Writing. In 2011 and 2014, she won Maryland Individual Artist Awards (state grants in creative writing in poetry) and has won other awards or placed as a finalist, such as for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize. You can find out more about her on her website.
Praise for Katherine's Classes
- Interesting comments - very insightful - and Katherine McCord's response time was extraordinaire. —Joan C., Coeur d'Alene ID
- A really different form of poetry. Exciting and challenging. Pushes you to think outside the box. —Kathryn S., Cary NC
- Found poetry was relatively new to me before the course. I enjoyed the many possibilities, both literal and visual it offered. The option to utilize varied artistic skills made this class unique. Thanks. —Ariela Z., Ellsworth ME
- The most helpful and invigorating instruction I've ever received. —Letishia W., Norman OK