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Available Online

Short, Sweet, Sour: Writing Short Poems

3 Weeks • with Gail Thomas • All Levels

  • Started Dec 3
  • 150 US dollars
  • Online via Zoom

Class Description

Some of the most powerful and memorable poems are short – they pack a punch and linger. How to craft such a poem? Compression, imagery, tension, sounds, surprise. We will study examples by a diverse group of poets to discover techniques that work to create these gems. Participants will write each week using prompts or ideas gleaned from our discussions. Writers will receive feedback on their works in progress. Open to poets of any level, this workshop will illustrate how to use craft to deepen their work. OUTLINE WEEK ONE: Less is More We'll read and discuss many short poems from both traditional and contemporary writers to discover why brevity and compression make them effective. WEEK TWO: Imagery and Sound Our focus will be on isolating fresh images and paying attention to the use of sound and rhythm to create a satisfying whole. WEEK THREE: Beginnings and Endings Both the opening and closing line of a poem do a lot of work in a short poem. We'll examine different ways to approach this important craft work. INSTRUCTOR GAIL THOMAS's published books are: Leaving Paradise, Trail of Roots, Odd Mercy, Waving Back, No Simple Wilderness: An Elegy for Swift River Valley, and Finding the Bear. Trail of Roots won the A. V. Christie Series of Seven Kitchens Press, Odd Mercy, chosen by Ellen Bass, won the Charlotte Mew Prize of Headmistress Press, and Waving Back was named a Must Read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book and Honorable Mention by the New England Book Festival. Her work has appeared in many journals and anthologies including The Beloit Poetry Journal, Calyx, The North American Review, Italian Americana, and Valparaiso Poetry Review. Individual poems have won prizes including the Naugatuck River Review’s Narrative Poetry Prize, Quartet Journal's Editor's Prize, and the Pat Schneider Poetry Prize. Gail has been a fellow at The McDowell Colony and Ucross. An experienced educator, she lives in Northampton and has retired from Smith College. She teaches, speaks at conferences and poetry festivals, and reads her work widely in community and academic settings.

Upcoming Sessions

Cancellation Policy

If you withdraw from a workshop TEN DAYS OR MORE before the start of the class: You'll receive full credit toward another workshop OR a full refund (minus 10%, a transaction fee that is non-refundable and that we would otherwise be charged). If you withdraw from a workshop nine days before the start of the class up until 48 hours before: You'll receive a refund minus 20%. If you withdraw from a workshop less than 48 hours before the start of a class or after the class has begun: We cannot offer credit or any refund. If you are absent on the day of your workshop or miss it for any reason, we are unable to offer any kind of refund or credit. If we have to cancel a class you have paid for, you will receive a full refund, without the service charge deducted. For our full listing of policies, visit www.PioneerValleyWriters.Com, Policies page (under Home). To withdraw and receive a partial refund according to the above, please get in touch with Joy at

Contact Details

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