Poetry Please: The History and Craft of the Poetic Form

Poetry Please: The History and Craft of the Poetic Form


About this course

Recommended Ages: This class is ideal for students ages 11-17. Younger academically gifted students will be accepted.

Levels: There is one level for this course.

Start Date: Enrollments received on or before Monday will be given class access the following Tuesday. Course consists of 6 lesson plans. No live classes- view lessons on YOUR schedule. SUMMER SCHEDULE IN EFFECT!! You have until August 23 to complete the course. Upon enrollment, you will receive class access information on Tuesday. Final reports will be issued on August 24. This gives you complete freedom during the summer to do the work! Instructors will still be grading and giving feedback for students weekly, but there will be no weekly deadlines- only the final course deadline of August 23.

Price: $80

Space Available: 

This 6-week course will introduce students to major achievements in creative poetry, looking specifically at significant “movements,” or groups of writers that have helped shape modern language both in the United States and around the world. As a general survey of the Poetic form, this course will focus heavily on reading and writing, and will include examples of famous poetry from many different cultures throughout history.

What makes a good poem? What makes a bad poem? When is something considered poetry and not a story? What motivates someone to write a poem in the first place? We will look at many examples of creative writers who have used language to challenge and reshape the world around them, and who have turned to the written word for a new and creative perspective on human life.

By the end of this course, students will become familiar with several important movements in Literary history, which will provide them with a basic understanding of different poetic forms and how they reflect the cultures that created each one. Various creative assignments will then give students the opportunity to use these skills in developing their own creative writing style.

This is an academically advanced class, and not recommended for most children under 11 (but we trust that you know your child’s abilities better than we do!).

LESSON PLANS: This is a 6 week class. Students have 2 weeks after the last class is posted to complete all work. Weekly lesson plans are posted on Tuesdays by 5pm Pacific Time. There is no “live” component to this class, which allows students to work at their own pace. This is a great option for busy students who need to work on their own schedule, and students who live all over the world and can’t easily coordinate time zones. Lessons will cover the relevant information in depth. They will be on the shorter side, as the focus of the course is on student-instructor interaction and peer-to-peer interaction.

Lesson plans are a combination of power point, graphics, video, and audio. Each slide is fully narrated for students who prefer to hear material read to them. There is no textbook for this course.

DISCUSSION:Discussions are important for peer review and interaction. They also help students work along the process with personal interaction from the instructor. Discussions will take the place of the typical Quiz grade in my courses and will build up a large portion of the final grade. We also offer an “open talk” forum where students can have fun getting to know their classmates!

ASSIGNMENTS: Assignments will be focused on building upon the student’s research topic. There are steps needed for research, and assignments are focused on those steps.

GRADES: All students will have access to our online learning system where they can view their lesson plan and assignments, take optional quizzes, access our discussion boards, submit assignments, and view instructor feedback on those assignments. You have the option of having your student’s assignments graded or not. In a given semester, you choose whether you want all or none of that student’s classes to receive grades (for example, if they are taking 3 classes, all 3 classes must be either graded or not graded). You can change the option the following semester. Graded students will be required to take the weekly quiz and will receive a number grade for their assignments in addition to feedback. They will also receive a final report card that you can print and keep for your records. Please note: All quizzes and some homework assignments that require an online “quiz” like entry will receive a grade.

TIME: In general, expect 1-1.5 hours to work through the lesson plan each week, and an additional 2-5 hours working on assignments (it really depends what assignment your child chooses to do and how they manage their time).

Week 1: Ancient Poetry and Oral Tradition

This introduction will look at Ancient traditions of using poetry to retell heroic stories. This week, we will look at writers such as Homer, Virgil, and Sappho.

Week 2: Eastern Poetry

The second week will focus on ancient poetic traditions from Eastern cultures, including Japanese Haiku and Tanka forms. We will look at writers such as Tu Fu and Li Po, as well as Kobayashi Issa and Matsuo Basho.

Week 3: Transcendentalism

The third week will focus on early American poets from the 1800’s. We will look at writers such as Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau.

Week 4: Harlem Renaissance 

The fourth week will focus on African American poets who challenged public opinion from the 1920’s and onward. We will look at writers such as Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Gwendolyn Brooks.

Week 5: The Beat Generation 

The fifth week will focus on American writers in the 1950’s who were known for starting the “Beat Movement”. We will look at writers such as Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac, and Bob Kaufman.

Week 6: Modern Feminism

The final week will focus on modern writers, with a special focus on feminist poets. We will look at writers such as Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, and Louise Gluck.


Our course begins with the first step for generating great user experiences: understanding what people do, think, say, and feel. In this module, you’ll learn how to keep an open mind while learning.

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