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Online: Zoom

What Makes It a Poem? How to Make and Break the Poetic Line

Saturday, April 23rd, from 10:00am-5:00pm (EST).
Online: Zoom
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Level: For Everyone
Adult (18+)
12 seats max

This craft-oriented workshop focuses on an aspect of poetry that may seem simple, but is not: Which words should go in each individual line of a poem? Since the ascendance of free verse, line breaks are arguably the single defining characteristic of poetry, but the decision to break a line in one place rather than another can seem arcane and mysterious.

Using close readings of poems (by poets like Tracy K. Smith, Karen Solie, and Gwendolyn Brooks), Catherine Wagner’s principles of the “Six S’s,” and exercises, we will demystify the process of making—and breaking—lines of poetry. Poets may bring a poem of their own for workshopping of the lineation (time permitting). They will also leave with a nuanced understanding of many factors involved in line breaks, as well as a couple of prompts with which to begin writing new poems.

Class Format

This class will take place using Zoom videoconferencing. 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!

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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Previous Students Say

  • Generative
  • Inspired Me to Write More


  • Generate New Work
  • Craft Lessons
  • In-Class Writing
  • Lecture


  • Poetry

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