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The Power of Form: Chaos and Order in Poems 

(In Person at Left Margin LIT) FULL, Wait List Only

Date: Saturday, March 9
Time: 1-4pm
Instructor: Rick Barot
Ages: Adult 
Genre: Poetry
Price: $125
Rick Barot

What exactly is form? Because of its mercurial quality, form has been described by poets in a variety of ways. Ellen Bryant Voigt, for example, thinks of form as a way of creating pattern among the poem’s materials. Robert Hass thinks of form as the way in which a poem “embodies the energy of the gesture of its making.”


In this three-hour class, bringing together Voigt’s sense of pattern and Hass’s sense of energy, we’ll consider form as the architecture of meaning for a poem. We’ll examine form as an entity that encompasses style and content, chaos and order, mystery and materiality.


Examining a gorgeous array of poems by Victoria Chang, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Sylvia Plath, Arthur Sze, Yusef Komunyakaa, and others, we’ll see the ways in which form manifests technique and pathos for each poem. Of course, the ideas and examples we discuss will be meant to bring new power and complexity to your own poems.

About the Instructor:

Rick Barot's most recent book of poems, The Galleons, was published by Milkweed Editions and was longlisted for the National Book Award. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including Poetry, The New Republic, The Adroit Journal, and The New Yorker. He has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and Stanford University. He lives in Tacoma, Washington and directs The Rainier Writing Workshop, the low-residency MFA program in creative writing at Pacific Lutheran University. His new collection of poems, Moving the Bones, will be published by Milkweed Editions in 2024.

Click here to learn more about Rick.


If you find that you can't take a class for which you registered, you may request a refund, less a $25 administrative fee, at least 48 hours prior to the start of the first class session. If a class doesn't reach its minimum enrollment, it will be cancelled, and all students will receive full refunds.

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