Locking Down Your Free Verse: Containers that Fit
In this four-week workshop focused on free verse, you will be guided through a series of exercises designed to facilitate experimentation and surprise in your work. Studying various techniques, you will investigate many of the intriguing inner-workings of free verse and learn how to work them into your own poems.
Among too many circles “free verse”— poetry containing inconsistent metrical patterns or rhyme— is a dirty word; the idea being that “free” is less than, or somehow equivalent to “formless.” Friends, I’m here to tell you these circles are full of squares. In this class we will study undervalued containers like the invective, aubade, “lead-in” prose poem, and repetitive frameworks in order to understand their inner-workings and employ them judiciously in our own poems.
Together we will read samples from the likes of Catullus, Wallace Stevens, Jenny Browne, Diane Lockward, Terrance Hayes, and others, then complete corresponding prompts designed to facilitate experiment and surprise. During our four weeks together expect to pen, lively discuss, workshop, and revise new poems.
Marcus Wicker is the author of Maybe the Saddest Thing (Harper Perennial), selected by DA Powell for the National Poetry Series. Wicker's awards include a 2011 Ruth Lilly Fellowship, Pushcart Prize, as well as fellowships from Cave Canem, and The Fine Arts Work Center. His work has appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Third Coast, Ninth Letter, and many other magazines. Marcus is assistant professor of English at University of Southern Indiana and poetry editor of Southern Indiana Review. He serves as director of the New Harmony Writers Workshop.