Notebooking Daily University: Poetic Explorations 'Memory' 6-Class Course


Welcome to Notebooking Daily's first ever self-paced poetry writing class, Poetic Explorations. This is a 'six-week class' done on your own time, at your own pace, and it will be much more open-ended than a standard class because everyone's different, and not everyone has time constraints yadda yadda. I will have more detailed courses this coming year, but this is a bit of a Christmas present to interested poets of a few communities especially.

What type of class is this? This class is heavily reading and prompt based, and self-driven, so it can be repeated multiple times as a generative/research project. You will read a wide variety of poetry driven by your preferences, you will create and generate potential source material in your 'poet's notebook', you will write 3 prompt poems, 1 highly-scaffolded poem which will be built over the duration of the course, and another somewhat-scaffolded poem which also will be built over the class's duration. And if you're able to get the book, you'll have 2 additional poems, one of which will have undergone a thorough editing process. This class focuses mainly around the theme of 'Memory' but there is a bit of intro to poetry stuff and an introduction to literary magazines as well, which is where you'll ideally be publishing your poetry some day.

Who is this for? Beginning poets as well as experienced poets. 

Class Book List (I have no Amazon affiliation or anything): "In the Palm of Your Hand" edited by Steve Kowit. I can't recommend this book enough for poets at all levels, but if you absolutely can't afford to buy a used copy for $5.50 with shipping included (and it's definitely worth it, even though we'll only be using a couple chapters in this short term class) I highly recommend reading/writing prompts for the rest of the book to further your 'class' experience. The rest of class reading materials will be free online and if you can't get the book, that should still be a good experience.

What is a Writer's Notebook? A place where you jot down interesting facts, bits of dialogue, ideas, fragments/snippets that come to you, as well as thoughts on poems you're reading and things you might do which are similar. This can be a physical notebook, or a google doc file. I recommend Google Docs over notepad or a similar notes type app because Docs has that cloud backup in case your device dies. Backing this up is also a good idea every so often, you can do that by emailing it to yourself. When doing the Notebooking activities, you should write which day you're doing at the top of the entry for easy referencing as you'll be going back to previous entries for brainstorming and writing activities.

Where should I do my brainstorming activities? I recommend in a Google Doc file. Here is a template you can use. If you prefer to handwrite, it will require some typing later, but that has its benefits if time isn't an issue.

How long should I dedicate to each activity? As long as it takes for the reading and notebooking activities, the brainstorming activities should each be 5-minute timers (per list) and the writing activities should take around 20-30 minutes. The idea is the class should take roughly 2.5 to 3 hours with close reading and the writing activities, but the good thing about self-paced classes like this is, you take as long as you like. If you want to read more poems than I 'require', heck yeah! If you want to read multiple poets' work, that's even better. If you have a ton of things happen in the previous day you want for your 'notebooking', or lots to say about pieces you read, or you get started on a poem and it takes off and you need four more hours to make a truly magnificent poem in one-go? I've been there, do it!

How do I write a poem in 30 minutes? First—you do you. Take extra time for the main part of writing if you'd like, spend an hour revising immediately after, I know I do sometimes. But, for the 'method', I suggest this breakdown for timers for the writing activities: 5 minutes for organizing and outlining, getting a rough idea of how you might meet the requirements, and where you might end up whether that's a message, observation, 'point' or it's just the order of requirements/major parts of the poem. Sometimes you'll be discovering almost everything, but it helps to have a target so even if you are figuring everything out as you go, you have a safe landing pad if you feel lost or like you're not making any progress. After the rough brainstorming/organizing/outlining, spend 20 minutes writing the poem. Don't feel locked into that outline/organization, but it can take the pressure of 'what next' off and allow you to feel freer in you initial discovery/exploration of the idea/narrative. Then the final 5 minutes you'll use to wrap up/land the poem, and read it over looking to see if there's anything that needs revising, tightening, or cutting if it doesn't line up with where the poem ended up going. If you're making major cuts, I recommend copy/pasting the original onto a page below the edit in progress in case you change your mind. You can lose what is the soul of a poem in a whim decision during editing, saving progress drafts helps you find the right version of the poem often.

Why only six classes? This is a 'lite' class meant to be accessible and repeatable. And it's free so if you like these classes, keep an eye out for our workshops and content classes in the new year. 

Can I repeat the course? Of course! I'll be editing in instructions for how to do that and get a totally/mostly unique experience in the coming days.

Why is this free? I wanted to give a little Christmas gift to a few communities and I'd planned on classes last year but ran out of time. I'm dedicated to getting a few together like this, but more detailed and longer with discord for interaction, some even with live workshopping. If you appreciate this class and would like to donate, I always dedicate all donations to Notebooking Daily to submission fees, getting every penny to a lit mag or press as I'm really trying to get some collections published and those fees add up. Donations of any size are greatly appreciated, however, this is free, there is no obligation to make a donation at all. I know what it's like to live off potatoes and chili and ramen, even outside of college. Times can be tough. If you're in a position to, and you really enjoyed the class, feel free to Say thanks with a donation of any amount.

So, without further yackin', LETSGO!