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  • Seminar
  • In-Person: Seaport
  • Adult (18+)

Writing the Unsayable

No Longer Enrolling

  • $85.00 Non-Member
  • $75.00 Member

Class Description

Have you ever had something you wanted to say but not been sure how to put it on the page? Some of life's biggest experiences elude language. Poetry can help us express what is often considered inexpressible. This class will give you tools to use language to get outside of traditional narrative into the spaces of the “unsayable”--those spaces of trauma, grief, joy, and awe.

One of the greatest powers of poetry is its ability to make us feel, to enact and evoke rather than simply describe. We’ll explore how poets do this; we'll look closely at poems across traditions by such writers as Basho, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Rainer Maria Rilke, Paul Celan, Anne Carson, Mary Oliver, and Camille Dungy.

We’ll explore the use of white spaces on the page and silence; punctuation and syntax; rhythm, suspense and syncopation. We’ll look at what is said and what is implied, at how leaving things out can be as powerful as putting things in, and at the power of poetry to surprise and move us. We’ll read closely, discuss poems and techniques, do short guided meditations to shift our attention, write from prompts, share work, and more.

The class is for poets and also prose writers who want to expand their capacity and skills. Come with questions and curiosity. You’ll leave with greater appreciation for the power of poetry and your own ability to tap into a greater complexity and range of expression.

Class Format

This class will take place in-person at our Center for Creative Writing in Boston's Seaport neighborhood.

Covid-19 Update:

GrubStreet's space will be mask optional when Boston's Covid-19 Community Level is low or medium. When the Covid-19 Community Level is high, our space will require masks. Please check GrubStreet's Covid-19 page for the latest info on masking and Community Levels before visiting in-person.

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

Scholarships Format/Location

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

This class will take place in-person at our Center for Creative Writing in Boston's Seaport neighborhood.


Covid-19 Update:

GrubStreet's space will be mask-optional when Boston's Covid-19 Community Level is low or medium. When the Covid-19 Community Level is high, our space will require masks. Please check GrubStreet's Covid-19 page for the latest info on masking and Community Levels before visiting in person.


Space Accessibility:

Our space is ADA accessible with automatic door openers, ADA-compliant restrooms, desk and table spacing, braille signage, and elevator. Our classrooms can be equipped with ALS for hard of hearing individuals. We cannot guarantee a scent-free environment. For more accessibility requests, please contact our Operations team at [email protected] or (617) 695-0075.