Are you stuck in an aesthetic rut? Do you want to write some new poems? Or maybe you want to begin writing poems, but don’t know how to start? This class is welcoming to poets at all stages of their creative careers, allowing you the space to write on topics we all know and love—what makes so many of us as adolescents take up a pen and scratch out some verse. Whether you have an MFA or just want to start out, this class will provide useful approaches to producing new and compelling poems by drawing upon the rich and ancient history of poetry as a guide.
While poetic topics are myriad, we will specifically look at poems that address WONDER, LOVE, DEATH, WAR, and THE SELF. With these subjects, we will explore poetry from Sappho (ancient) to Solmaz Sharif (modern), noting the different ways poets have engaged with these compelling themes through the ages. Each week you will receive multiple generative prompts in connection to that week’s subject, and everyone will have the opportunity to workshop at least two poems.
This class will meet over our text-only chat platform. There will not be any video or audio component to class.
A note from Diana on the format: I have found over the years of teaching at Catapult that a text-based platform is ideal for the students and myself. Those who engage more smoothly through reading/typing rather than hearing/speaking really thrive in the class. It is generally far less stressful as a means of creative engagement for people who otherwise have full, rich, but also taxing lives (jobs, families, pets). If we have learned anything in the pandemic, having a dozen sets of unblinking eyes looking at you raises cortisol levels. If someone has to tend to a crying child, pop away to heat up dinner, they can do so and refer to the chat without missing a beat. Students have found the class to be thoroughly enriching and also calming for this reason. Beyond this, the text-based course is something you can have access to forever. It is a resource you can reference as often as you’d like.
Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.
- Get comfortable writing poetry on subjects you might not otherwise write—and be (gently) held accountable by your classmates and instructor
- Read remarkable poetic works from ancient poems to contemporary pieces, making you a more experienced reader and informing your own writing practice
- Finish the class with a sheaf of new poems, at least two of which will receive thoughtful feedback from peers and an experienced instructor through workshop
- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes
- Weekly readings of a sheaf of poems on wonder, love, death, war, or the self
- Multiple weekly writing prompts in connection with that week’s theme or revision
- Participate in two workshop sessions
Week 1 – Wonder
Week 2 – Love & Desire
Week 3 – Death
Week 4 – War
Week 5 – The Self & The Body
Week 6 – Final Class
Diana Arterian is the author of the poetry collection Playing Monster :: Seiche, which received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was the Editors’ Selection for the 1913 First Book Prize. A Poetry Editor at Noemi Press, her creative work has been recognized with fellowships from the Banff Centre, Caldera, Millay, Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo. Diana’s writing has been featured in BOMB, Brooklyn Rail, Los Angeles Review of Books, NPR, and The New York Times Book Review, and she is a regular contributor at LitHub. Diana holds a PhD in Literature & Creative Writing from USC, and teaches at Merrimack College. She splits her time between Cambridge and Los Angeles.
“[Arterian] renders terror in language so plain, concise and taut—it thrums with all that’s held in suspension, in the blank space between blows. The act of writing—her record—is itself the antidote. By looking terror right in the face and saying what she sees, she puts it under her power. This achievement, what she does here—it makes other writing seem like child’s play.”
“Diana Arterian’s poetry is shockingly almost-gentle as it speaks about family violence and childhood terror. In sparse lyrics and tiny knife-like narratives, memory gasps itself out of language and into the white space—into the awful blanks that such searing language digs out. Stone to stone across a life, this never stops. Arterian’s poetry is ferociously unblinking, ferociously variable, and ferociously tender.”
“Arterian weaves a family narrative of devastating clarity from letters, found text, memories, and more in her striking debut...The text, with its found-text poems and nonlinear sense of time, could feel fragmented but never does, remaining instead at an emotional precipice.”
“I feel I owe Diana a debt for helping me find a new outlet/vantage point for expression.”
"The works we read were beautiful, intense, and moving, and the supportive atmosphere of the class always pushed me to interact with the works in ways that were unfamiliar but insightful. I was supported, by both Diana and the other students in class to grow as a writer, and the criticism I received on my assignments was always truthful and motivated by the desire to see me get better.”
“I have never enjoyed a class as much as I did this one. Not only did she encourage us as a class to challenge ourselves, she encouraged us to pursue form and subject matter that we were interested in. I felt comfortable participating in class and my ideas were challenged, but encouraged…She also provided a safe space to grow as a writer, which I think can be difficult—balancing constructive criticism and improvement with encouragement.”
"[Diana] taught me a lot about writing and I learned a lot throughout the course...I saw vast improvements in my writing ability as well as an improvement in my creativity and risk–taking.”
“Diana was really good at encouraging us to get out of our comfort zones. This class was completely different than anything I've taken before...She always encouraged us to try new methods, read different kinds of texts, and overall grow as both readers and writers.”
"[Diana] has a great talent for explaining things in a way that makes me understand better in every way. Her feedback for all of the assignments are very in depth and fantastic analyses, which helped me further develop my own writing.”