Online | Poetry | Workshop

The Online Poetry Generator: Twelve Months to a Full Collection

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Isn’t it time you transformed your experiences—or handful of poems, or messy first draft—into a finished poetry collection?

At Catapult, we believe there’s a better—or at least less lonely—way to write a poetry collection. Our competitive 12-month poetry course is designed to help poets generate and refine a submission-ready collection in a supportive and motivating atmosphere. Poetry allows you to move on the page in ways you often cannot in real life: Writing a collection of poems is a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other process. Every effort made is a vital piece towards completing the whole of your book.

Writers will spend a year thinking deeply about their voice and process by generating new work, analysis and discussion of contemporary collections, workshopping individual poems (and eventually, full manuscripts), one-on-one consultations and guest lectures with nationally celebrated poets and editors. Alongside a group of talented peers each participant will have the opportunity to capitalize on a vibrant and dedicated space for writing to gain strategies for filling in the holes of their manuscript, engage in rigorous craft lessons, explore sequencing tactics, and develop the specific concerns at the core of their body of work.

This class is open to poets of all styles, but is best suited to those with a clear goal of what they want to work on over the course of the year. The program will be divided into three phases, each focusing on a different element of the writing process and building upon earlier lessons. Each phase will feature guest speakers—emerging poets, seasoned writers, speaking agents, and poetry editors from journals and publishing houses—with invaluable insights on how one can best write and publish their debut collection.

We believe the writing process is sacred and should be protected from publishing concerns in the early stages. With that in mind, phase one will focus on helping writers explore and hone their voice; phase two, on sequencing, refining, and identifying and developing the thematic and structural threads of their collection. We also believe that the opaque barriers between the publishing industry and creative writing classes should be broken down, and that writers who hope to publish can be better served by writing education that treats publishing like a challenging, but achievable, component of a writer’s life. For that reason, phase three will focus on how poets establish and build their readership and writing community.

Throughout the year, class will meet 40 times for three hours per session with several breaks for holidays and “between” phases. Writers will graduate the 12-month poetry generator with a substantial number of new pages, valuable connections, and productive and strategic skills that will aid in transformation for not only their manuscript but for a sustainable writing practice and career.

Any student who applies by the financial aid deadline (August 29th) and is accepted to the course will have the opportunity to apply for financial aid. While we cannot guarantee aid to every applicant, financial aid awards vary between $500 and 50% of course tuition and all students are eligible to request a no-interest payment plan, whether or not they apply for financial aid.

To apply to the course, please submit up to 5 pages of poetry. Writers will be accepted on a rolling basis, but only applications received before August 29th will be eligible for financial aid.

Phase 1: Honing your voice (Oct. 27, 2021 - Feb. 9, 2022, 13 meetings; no class Nov. 24, Dec. 22, and Dec. 29)

In the first phase, weekly sessions will alternate between craft and workshop. Whether you’re rolling into class with several completed poems or simply the desire to write, we will embark together on in-class work geared toward helping each writer explore, hone their voice, and establish and discuss the major thematic and structural threads of each writer’s poems. We will examine contemporary collections of luminaries like Natalie Diaz, Ada Limón, Patricia Smith, Victoria Chang, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Xandria Phillips more to take a closer look at how some of the most legendary and original collections are created. Craft classes will be geared towards generating new pages, with specific attention paid to meeting each writer where they are. In this phase, students will have the opportunity to workshop twice, and will meet with the instructor for an individual conference following their workshop.

Phase 2: Assembling and refining the collection (Mar. 16 - Jun. 6, 2022, 13 meetings)

The second phase will focus on strategies for refining and heightened revision. This will be the first substantial engagement with the full poetry manuscript. With all or most generative work and drafting out of the way we will begin to consider sequencing and the arc of your collection. Is your collection best divided in sections? Do the poems follow a linear logic or a textural and tonal one? We will look closely to find what narrative, what resounding messages, are pressing through the lyric of your collection and how best to order and put them in conversation. Students will have the opportunity to workshop twice during phase two, and will meet with the instructor following these workshops to further discuss strategies for revision and their progress.

Phase 3: Establishing your readership (Jul. 13 - Oct. 12, 2022, 14 meetings)*

The third and final phase of the 12-month poetry generator will help writers begin the process of thinking about how to establish their readership. Students will each have a final workshop, submitting their entire draft for peer review, and will also meet with a 2nd professional reader (e.g., freelance or house editor, agent, recent debut poet) who will read the draft in full and meet with the writer to discuss via phone or video conference. Guest speakers will either attend class in-person or via a Zoom session and will include speaking agents, poetry editors, and published poets. Students will have an opportunity to meet one-on-one with select guests for individual craft and career consultations. Graduation will be celebrated at a public capstone reading featuring each student, and their poems will be featured on Catapult’s website.

*Please note that some of the partnerships with Catapult in Phase 3 of your generator (for example, your graduation showcase publication and meeting with a 2nd reader) may extend beyond your final scheduled class session

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.

COURSE TAKEAWAYS:

- 120 hours of instruction, including at least five workshops per student

- Four 30 minute one-on-one meetings with the instructor

- 20% off all Catapult conferences, classes, and events, including residential programs and writers retreats, for the duration of the program

- 2nd Reader editorial letter and meeting: in addition to the dedicated feedback from the writer/instructor as well as members of the class, each student will submit their manuscript after the conclusion of Phase 2 to a book editor; intended to offer a professional perspective from outside the workshop conversation, as well as practice for future conversations with editors, this reader will share an editorial letter and meet with the student one-on-one to discuss their work

- A passionate and talented community of peer readers

- A deeper understanding of the craft of poetry

- A substantial body of new poems and a clearer sense of one’s vision and voice (Please note that no class can promise that you’ll write a full collection. But this class is carefully developed to help emerging poets generate and refine a collection-length body of new work over the course of one year.)

- Greater fluency with the contemporary poetry marketplace

- Professional and creative insights from regular guest visitors

- Showcase publication and graduation reading

FAQs:

Why Catapult, and not an MFA program?

Catapult is an award-winning independent publisher of literary fiction and nonfiction. Books are our business: every day we work to help the stories and writers we love find their audience. Our program is designed to unite the best things about an MFA program—community, mentorship, and intensive craft analysis—with specialized and practical publishing advice.

How much does this class cost? Are scholarships, financial aid, or payment plans available?

Full tuition for this year-long course is $5750. No-interest payment plans of varying installments are available upon acceptance to the course. Accepted writers with demonstrated need will be considered for a limited number of financial aid awards. If you have questions about payment plans and/or financial aid, please email [email protected].

What is the financial aid process?

Once accepted, students who applied before the financial aid deadline and require financial aid in order to enroll will be asked to submit a statement of need. These awards have ranged from $500 to 50% of tuition, but in scenarios where the majority of the class demonstrates need, the largest awards are not likely to exceed $2000. Students are also encouraged to explore multiple funding sources, including granting organizations. Our team maintains a regularly updated list of websites that gather grants and other funding opportunities for writers. If you have questions about the financial aid process or would like access to these opportunities, please email [email protected].

Can I apply a discount code to a 12-month generator?

We budget very carefully in order to provide financial aid to the writers enrolled in our 12-month generators who need it, while still paying our instructors, guests, and 2nd readers fairly for their labor. As a result, for these classes only, we ask that accepted applicants apply for aid if they require it rather than using a discount code.

Why does this class cost so much?

The 12-month poetry generator is an MFA level course, taught by a published poet who is also an experienced educator with years of creative writing teaching experience. Your tuition helps pay your instructor a living wage, and covers the cost of booking guest speakers, arranging second readers, scheduling events, and administering the program.

I finished the poetry generator. When will I get published?

We can’t promise that every writer who leaves the 12-month poetry generator will get published right away, or ever. Publishing is a tricky business, involving lots of luck and time—as students who enroll in this course will learn! That said, as publishers ourselves, we strongly believe that we can help prepare emerging poets to better navigate the publishing world, and that our program and the connections made here will increase your chances of success.

In the course description, there are mentions of guest visitors, and invitations to special events. I want the details right now! Why can’t I have them?

People who work in publishing are busy and we confirm guest speakers on a rolling basis, as their schedules permit. Generator students will also have access to Catapult educational resources providing information about applying for grants and residencies.

I have only written a couple poems in my life. Is this class too advanced?

Maybe. How serious are you about working on your poetry over the course of a year? If you have taken at least a couple of workshops in the past, and you’re committed to coming in and focusing on that idea over the course of the year, this class might be the right fit for you. The key thing is that on the first day, you come ready to write. No one will write your poems for you, but this course can help you apply structure to your ideas.

I’m still not sure if this class is for me. Could I talk to someone about it?

Yes! We would love to talk with you. Please email [email protected] to set up an appointment. 

Rosebud Ben-Oni

Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of the 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery, forthcoming in 2021, and the author of turn around, BRXGHT XYXS (Get Fresh Books, 2019). She is a recipient of fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts and CantoMundo. Her work appears in POETRY, The American Poetry Review, POETS.org, The Poetry Review (UK), Tin House, Guernica, Black Warrior Review, Prairie Schooner, and Electric Literature, among others. She writes for The Kenyon Review blog and recently edited a chemistry poetry portfolio for Pleiades. Find her at 7TrainLove.org

Testimonials

"In turn around BRXGHT XYXS, Rosebud Ben-Oni opens by summoning Matarose—her alter-ego “muse on roller skates”—a wildly original voice that channels K-pop, hip hop, and the intersectional mestiza soul of the entire borough of Queens to create a sound-driven howling lyric paean—an ecstatic queer broken love-song that’s equal parts Bonnie Tyler and bible, Prince and prayer, and 100% pure desire. Ben-Oni’s poems conjure fierce feminist magic to create a simultaneous ode and lament of a book that reminds us we are the sum of all the parts of our selves: our roots and contradictory loves, all the things we’re born into and out of, the corporeal experiences we only sometimes choose—and she brings it all home with power, humor, grace, and lines like this: “This is my blood and this / my body this time / you won’t betray me / I am your kingdom come.”"

Erika Meitner

"Mercy, these poems will reawaken a wilderness you swore you’d lost the map to. Ben-Oni is doing sacred work here, strutting across the asperous terrain of our modern world with a queer femme sovereignty that intoxicates and heals; at the center of each poem, a fragrant mosh pit. These are the ruthless texts we bitches deserve—poems that drive their readers into feral ascension—until the claws can’t be pulled back in."

Rachel McKibbins

"Rosebud Ben-Oni is her own genre.”

Dorothy K. Chan on "I Guess We'll Have to Be Secretly in Love with Each Other & Leave It at That"

"When I started Rosebud’s workshop, I was looking to nurture a flare for creative writing that was in serious danger of dying out. Luckily, she was the perfect teacher to stoke that fire. Beyond putting together a syllabus that stretched our concepts of what poetry could be, she encouraged me and my peers to dip into the strange and the silly as we interpreted the prompts we were given. Her celebration of our growth and her thoughtful questions also gave me a model for feedback that I continue to employ when working through new writing with friends. I recommend to just about everyone I know that they try taking a workshop with Rosebud: she's a poet's poet, a teacher's teacher, and a champion for the kind of exploration, creativity, and fun that I needed to fall in love with writing again."

Patrick Mullen-Coyoy former student

"Poetry workshop with Rosebud was a wonderfully exciting and supportive space where I felt safe enough to experiment and take risks with my poems. Her writing prompts provoked me to ask deeper questions of myself and the class helped me grow immensely, both as a reader and a poet. The syllabus was rich in poetry, essays, music, and videos that encouraged lively classroom discussion and powerful, engaged writing. What strikes me most about Rosebud is her big-hearted generosity and genuine interest and delight in having her students succeed."

Yamini Pathak former student

"Rosebud is by far one of the best mentors I’ve had in a workshop setting. Her materials are thought-provoking and inspirational, and they challenge students to explore, play, and experiment. Her comments are always insightful and she creates a supportive environment where students are encouraged to be themselves, as well as to interact with each other both within and beyond the workshop. She’s generous in her feedback and with the time she dedicates to each student and is always willing to answer questions and help in any way she can."

Leonora Simonovis former student