The Burlington Writers Workshop offers nearly 300 free workshops each year in Burlington, Montpelier, and Middlebury, as well as master classes and various full-day writing retreats throughout Vermont. Most of our current workshops meet Online, but we do have in-person workshops. We ask that you attend at least one workshop before requesting to submit your own work for review.
Poetry with Elisabeth
July 27 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm$10.00
This is the first of our Host Series of Classes. These classes are different from our workshops, as they are focused on learning specific techniques.
Come join Elisabeth and dive into poetry!
Sonic Devices — Wednesday June 29 6:30-8:30
In this workshop, you’ll become well-versed in the many types of sound devices you can use to augment the impact of your writing in addition to rhyme and rhythm, including accent, alliteration, assonance, consonance, cacophony, dissonance, euphony, internal rhyme, metre, modulation, near-rhyme, onomatopoeia, phonetic symbolism, and resonance. We’ll look at some fabulous examples of sonically strong poems, and we’ll try out some writing and revision prompts, with an option to share with the group.
Erasure Poetry — Wednesday July 27, 6:30-8:30
2021 Inaugural poet Amanda Gorman recently released a book of poems, which includes erasure poetry — the creation of a poem by erasing or selecting from another already-written text (like an article, a letter, or a book). We’ll take a look at the intersection of visual art with erasure; we’ll examine the powerful erasure work of poets like Tracy K. Smith, Robin Coste Lewis, and M. NourbeSe Philip; and we’ll discuss how to be mindful when choosing a text to alter. You’ll be provided with a text to “erase”, and we’ll have the option to share the very different poems we’ve each created from the same text.
Rhetorical Figures of Speech — Wednesday October 19, 6:30-8:30 pm
Discover and name handy tips and tricks of the trade that are thousands of years old, and which you may already use unknowingly–including polyptoton, antithesis, merism, blazon & contreblazon, synaesthesia, aposiopesis, hyperbaton, anadiplosis, diacope, and periodic sentences. Whereas the use of these techniques is often cited in prose (especially in speeches), we’ll look at strong examples from poetry. We’ll also try out some writing and revision prompts, with an option to share with the group.
The Power of the Persona Poem — Wednesday November 30, 6:30-8:30 pm
A persona poem is one given in the first person, in a character’s voice – real or fictional. This form offers a powerful way to bring a reader face-to-face with a voice, without the intermediary of narration. We’ll take an in-depth look at works by Gwendolyn Brooks, Tyehimba Jess, Rita Dove, and others who have used it to great effect, and we’ll work with writing prompts, with an option to share with the group. We’ll also discuss why it’s important to navigate carefully when writing persona poems to avoid co-opting or erasing real-life voices that need to be heard.
The Volta, or Turn — Wednesday January 25, 6:30-8:30pm
In poetry, the volta or turn is a rhetorical shift or dramatic change–in thought, tone, point of view, emotion, or in another aspect. We’ll look at some diverse examples of effective turns in poetry, and we’ll work with both writing and revision prompts, with an option to share with the group.
Each class will have a $10 fee. If you attend the first four classes, you qualify for a discount for your 5th class. Please contact Elisabeth for more information and your discount.
There are a few partial and full scholarships available. Please contact Elisabeth for more information.
Elisabeth Blair is a poet and editor with a multidisciplinary background in writing, visual art, music, and improvisation. Her first book, because God loves the wasp (Unsolicited Press, August 2022), is a poetry memoir about the years she spent within the abusive “troubled teen” industry. Her other publications include two chapbooks—without saying (Ethel Press 2020) and We He She/It (Dancing Girl Press, 2016)—and poems published or forthcoming in a variety of journals, including Harpur Palate, Feminist Studies, cream city review, and Juked. Based in Montréal, she leads poetry workshops, writes a monthly poetry craft newsletter, lullabies & alarms, and works as a freelance editor and manuscript consultant. www.elisabethblair.net