New Class!

Happy Accidents: Poetic Inspiration - Remote!

4 Thursdays from 10:30am-1:30pm (EST), starting October 7th
Remote (Live Zoom Meetings)
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max
Only 2 spots left!

James Merrill used a Ouija board to commune with the spirits of the dead. He got 560 pages out of it. French Surrealists described their dreams, Tracy K. Smith took an eraser to the Declaration of Independence, and Jericho Brown writes lines on slips of paper that he slides around until something interesting pops out.

If a poem should not "mean, but be," how can we short-circuit the logical side of our brain that writes prose, instead unleashing the unconscious to produce poems that surprise even their writer? This class will use techniques such as erasure, eavesdropping, phonetic translation, and more to help students relinquish some control to outside forces (and the unconscious) during the drafting and revision stages. This can create work that functions less by logic than by juxtaposition, association, the element of surprise--what Robert Bly called poetic "leaping."

Students will generate new material, consider different methods of shaping it, revise old poems, and have at least one poem workshopped. They will also closely read poets such as Jericho Brown, Guillaume Apollonaire, Robin Coste Lewis, and Matthew Zapruder to consider the patterns and aesthetics of poems based on happy accidents.

This class will be hosted using live Zoom meetings! You will be able to participate in class via Zoom videoconference from wherever you’re most comfortable. All you’ll need is a laptop or a phone! About 15 minutes before your class is scheduled to begin, you'll receive an email from your instructor with a link to join the class meeting via Zoom–no need to download anything or sign up for Zoom in advance! If you have questions about remote learning, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] for more information.

For a glimpse at how remote learning works, look no further than the deep Zoom discussion of writing and literature below:

Scholarship Information

Thanks to the excellent literary citizenship of our donors, scholarships are available for all GrubStreet classes. To apply, click the gray "APPLY FOR SCHOLARSHIP" button. In order to be considered for a scholarship, you must complete your application at least one week before the start date of a class. Please await our scholarship committee's decision before registering for the class. We cannot hold spots in classes, so the sooner you apply, the better. Scholarships cannot be applied retroactively.

For more more detailed information about GrubStreet scholarships, including how to contribute to scholarship funds for other students, click here.

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Walter Smelt
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  • Writing Homework
  • Lecture
  • Workshop
  • Instructor Feedback
  • In-Class Writing
  • Craft Lessons
  • Generate New Work


  • Poetry

Commitment Level



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