Like it? Hate it? Love it! Inspired by it? Confused by it? As writers, all of these responses are better than, meh. But how do we create these reactions? How do we get an audience to care? What is the craft behind the feelings?
In this generative workshop—intended for beginner poets and writers of other genres experimenting with poetry for the first time—we will look at poems that move us. Why do we keep reading? What makes us care about these poems? How, in turn, can we make another care about ours? We will reverse engineer how poems use literary devices to evoke emotions, and recreate these techniques in our own work. We will look at poetry, because poetry, though sometimes employing aspects of character and narration, often places the literary devices in the forefront. In poetry, the what of the piece stands beside, if not behind, the how.
Over the course of six weeks, we will read the work of established poets, engage in in-class writing, and share our own works-in-progress. Each student will be workshopped at least twice throughout class.. Every class will be divided into approximately one-third literary discussion, one-third in-class writing, and one-third workshop. At the end of every class, each student will have a rough draft of a new poem, and by the end of the course, each student will have a portfolio of 8-10 poems-in- progress and a toolbox of literary techniques to take with them.
Class meetings will be held over video chat, using Zoom accessed from your private class page. While you can use Zoom from your browser, we recommend downloading the Zoom desktop client so you have access to all platform features.
- Explore various literary devices and techniques with which to employ in current and future projects
- Develop a thoughtful and critical language with which to engage in discussion of works-in-progress, including our own
- Gain a better understanding of your own writing practice
- Access to Catapult's list of writing opportunities and important submission deadlines, as well as a 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
- Students are required to submit one poem to be workshopped twice (once as a new poem and once as a revision) during the six weeks
- Students are required to discuss their peers’ poems in workshop, approaching each poem with empathy and honesty
- Students are required to engage in in-class writing exercises and are highly encouraged to share their work with the class
- Students will have light weekly reading each week and the occasional take-home assignment
Week 1 – Frustration / Curiosity; Getting Started; Haiku writing exercise
Week 2 – Terror / Horror; The Line writing exercise
Week 3 – Grievance / Nostalgia; Imagery writing exercise
Week 4 – Anger / Awareness; Anaphora writing exercise
Week 5 – Liberation / Remembrance; Epistolary writing exercise
Week 6 - Celebration / Reflection; Ars Poetica writing exercise
Quincy Scott Jones is the author of the The T-Bone Series, published by Whirlwind Press in 2009. His work has appeared in the African American Review, The North American Review, and The Feminist Wire as well as anthologies such as Resisting Arrest: Poems to Stretch the Sky, Let Loose on the World: Celebrating Amiri Baraka at 75, and Black Lives Have Always Mattered: A Collection of Essays, Poems, and Personal Narratives. With Nina Sharma, he co-created the reading series Nor’easter Exchange and his graphic narrative, "Black Nerd", is in the works.
Photo by Dominique Sindayiganza.
"Writing in this class allowed me to open my mind and think outside the box..."
"Jones encourages you to be a better writer with positive feedback. He loves the written word and that comes through in his class."
"I was challenged to be a better writer. I will continue to write because of this course."
“In many ways, Jones could be considered an avant-garde Langston Hughes had he lived in the post-Civil Rights era; rendering complex portraits in the language of those centered in his lyric narratives, whether writing as “himself” or as a persona like in THE T-BONE SERIES. His wry, futuristic folktales surprise and satisfy like cool water or a shot of bourbon, neat. He uses humor and irony in ways that somehow sting and feel poignant at once.”
"Quincy Scott Jones has the courage to take on the most difficult and vital subjects with stunning integrity and imagination. He's the kind of writer our culture needs desperately."
"I have been in awe of Quincy's wordstyle & intellect. When he dropped into the studio last month with this kind of bout-to-boil fire, I became even more grateful to call him a friend & contemporary."