Online | Poetry | Seminar

1-Day Online Generative Poetry Seminar: The Family as Inspiration

Open to all levels: How do you write about this particularly personal group of people with the honesty and openness that’s required of us poets?

The subject is one all of us can “relate” to; we each come from some kind of family. Whether it be traditional or nontraditional, we all grow up with a constellation of others around us who shape and influence us, and that influence remains a part of our lives. It’s through these relationships that we learn about the extremes of intimacy and distance, anger and joy, cruelty and kindness, isolation and community. The family is our first small look at the ways of the larger world. It’s in this microcosm that we begin to see who we are, and how we fit in or don’t.

Students will read and discuss a number of poets from Philip Levine to Jesús Valles. Students will not need to share work during the class meeting, as these are tender poems skirting a difficult edge.

Students will leave this class with a stronger sense of how to circumnavigate the tricky waters when it comes to writing about family, with advice and prompts to explore how doing so can also be a way of knowing about ourselves.

This class will meet over our text-only chat platform. There will not be any video or audio component to class. 


- A deeper understanding of how to honestly write about family whom you feel in conflict with

- Discovering a deeper understanding on family rituals as anecdotes

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes

- Generate new, exciting writing during class time

- Learning new ways to listen to and analyze poems that memorialize or reveal secrets


This is a one-day seminar: students will do writing exercises and generative work in the classroom. There will be some outside homework to take away with you, but no feedback given for the writing done in class.

Threa Almontaser

Threa Almontaser is the author of the poetry collection, THE WILD FOX OF YEMEN (Graywolf Press) selected by Harryette Mullen for the 2020 Walt Whitman Award from The Academy of American Poets, shortlisted for the Brooklyn Library’s 7th Annual Literary Prize, and longlisted for the 2021 National Book Award. She is the recipient of awards from the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright program, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA and TESOL certification from North Carolina State University and is at work on her first novel. Photo credit: Yasmin Ali


“That’s the miracle of this collection—it is so fully the poet’s own singular and unprecedented voice making a singular unprecedented sound, and it's beholden to nobody. It’s thrilling to discover such a staggeringly self-assured debut, to feel in the unmistakable presence of The Real Thing.”

Kaveh Akbar author of PILGRIM BELL and CALLING A WOLF A WOLF

“In these astonishing poems, Threa Almontaser razes all that would constrict her. Her language is rebellious, mischievous, curious, rich with refusals and tenderness. It also eulogizes, translates, heckles. The Wild Fox of Yemen is an intoxicating debut.”


“With counterpoints of old and new worlds, and full love and care for possibility, in brilliant rushes of language, these poems know it's so hard to be all we are, but they rise to every occasion.”

Naomi Shihab Nye author of THE TINY JOURNALIST