Online | Poetry | Workshop

8-Week Poetry Workshop: Contemporary Poets & Poetry

This poetry workshop will focus on contemporary writing approaches and publishing opportunities, rather than long-canonized poets and more prestigious, well-known publications. The goal of this course is to excite you about everything that is possible as a poet now.

During our eight weeks together, we will read the work of many living, contemporary poets and complete writing exercises that honor the poets' strengths. Suitable for anyone with any level of writing experience, we will workshop poems every week in a supportive, uplifting environment, which aims to focus on the weekly topics during discussion, and we will celebrate your individual voice.

Every week, students will write a poem and we will workshop some of these poems in class (each student will get to workshop at least three times) except for the psychic/somatic week (please see the course outline below), in which we will write two. The reading assignments will never be more than a couple pages of writing, but they will be carefully chosen, and deep readings are appreciated. The writing exercises are designed to be inspiring and generative, and you will also learn to create your own. I will also be sharing a list of online literary journals and encouraging students to explore and research one of their choosing.

By the end of this workshop, students can expect to have an understanding of the contemporary landscape and will have received feedback from the instructor and their classmates on at least three poems.

*No class February 20

Our class platform works best on laptop or desktop computers. 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 desktop client so you have access to all platform features. The Zoom calls will have automated transcription enabled. Please let us know ([email protected]) if you have any questions or concerns about accessibility.

 Check out this page for details about payment plans and discount opportunities.


- Leave with three workshopped poems

- Familiarization with contemporary poets who continue to write today

- Practice somatic writing and learn how you can apply it to your future writing process

- 10% discount on all future Catapult classes


Students should be prepared to write a new poem each week and submit at least three poems for workshop over the course of the class. Students will be expected to give feedback on their peers’ work. Students may submit poems they have written before class, though it's recommended that they participate in generative exercises and share new work, particularly later on in the workshop.

Students should also be prepared to complete short reading exercises each week and be prepared to discuss.


Week 1: Introductions

Week 2: Somatic Line Breaks

Week 3: Journalistic Writing/Cameos

Week 4: Notes App Poetry

Week 5: Psychic Writing/CA Conrad's (Soma)tic Poetry Exercises

Week 6: Paragraph Poems

Week 7: Concision

Week 8: Contemporary Publishing 

Shy Watson

Shy Watson is the author of two poetry collections: Horror Vacui (2021) and Cheap Yellow (CCM 2018). She co-founded Blush Lit. More work can be found at [PANK], Joyland, The Rumpus, New York Tyrant, and elsewhere. She is an MFA candidate at University of Montana.


"Shy edits like a top-tier interior designer who steps into a room and recognizes its latent beauty before you’ve even shook hands."

Steven Arcieri author of DECADE at The Nervous Breakdown

"Shy is a thoughtful reader who has a meticulous eye for detail. With a knack for writing vivid, pithy sentences and an intuitive ability to hone in on sentiment, she offers feedback that helps writers make their words spark on the page. Her edits have been essential in refining my craft."

Alisha Wexler workshop cohort

"As an editor, Shy exposed to me structural overtures in my work even I wasn’t tapped into. She was able to pinpoint themes I needed to develop and help me clarify my language in a way I didn’t quite have access to. I am a stronger writer because of her feedback."

Elle Nash author of NUDES and ANIMALS EAT EACH OTHER

“One of my favorite contemporary poets. Such clean open lines. Such room to sprawl out poem per poem. Shy Watson is an artist with a capital A.”

Bud Smith

“I’m glad Shy is alive and writes poems.”

Megan Boyle

“Shy’s poems are abruptly smart, a little violent, devious and ongoing, legendary, mythic, not prosey though a little like the voice of god if god decided to speak more collectively for a while. Shy’s poems to me are so so worth it. And they are crafty—also like god.”

Eileen Myles