Popular Poets: Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Patricia Smith, & Stephen Dunn

Instructor:  Kyle D. Craig
Date: 4 Sundays: June 11; July 16; August 6; September 17
Time: 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Location: IWC
Cost: $300 Nonmembers, $192 members, $168 student members/teacher members/senior members/military members/librarian members

In this four-part class we will examine the techniques and craft of poetry by reading and learning about the works of four particular poets: Mary Oliver, Billy Collins, Patricia Smith, and Stephen Dunn. Pulitzer Prize winner and popular poet Mary Oliver has for decades been delighting her readers with poems about the awe, wonder, and spiritual potency of nature. Two-time U.S.  Poet Laureate, Billy Collins has been hailed as “America’s most popular poet,” and his poems show a keen sense of intellect, cleverness, and humor. A four-time National Poetry Slam champion and a finalist for the National Book Award, Patricia Smith has been able to wow both readers and audiences with her mastery of language and the subjects she chooses to write about, often race relations and systemic oppression. And winner of the Pulitzer Prize and author of more than 18 collections of poetry, Stephen Dunn has been heralded by his colleagues as “One of America’s most indispensable poets.”

In these four classes we will examine these particular poets’ content, their writing style, their creative process, and how their lives have shaped their poetry. Ultimately, our primary question will be, How does studying these poets inform our own writing endeavors? Students will engage in writing exercises based on each writer’s works, and begin to develop their own poems based on the writing exercises.


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