Taming the Beast: Assembling Your Poetry Collection
Are you proud of individual poems, but daunted by putting together a whole manuscript? This class, which can be used for chapbook or full-length collections, takes an approach that balances craft and pragmatics. In Week One, we will help you distill a sense of your book’s working “meta-text”—meaning, all the various cues you are giving readers and potential editors through titles, epigraphs, and ordering. In Week 2, you’ll receive a close reading and line edits for two opening poems; in Week 3, for two closing poems. In Week 4 we’ll return to big-picture questions by revisiting your title and table of contents, identifying different paths to publication, and sharing resources for what comes next.
Sandra Beasley is the author of four poetry collections—Made to Explode, Count the Waves, I Was the Jukebox, which won the 2009 Barnard Women Poets Prize, and Theories of Falling—as well as Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a disability memoir and cultural history of food allergies. She served as the editor for Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Honors for her work include the 2019 Munster Literature Centre’s John Montague International Poetry Fellowship, a 2015 NEA fellowship, and five DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities fellowships. She lives in Washington, D.C.