Open to all.
Limited to 12 participants.
What’s the difference between poetry and prose? One big difference is form—the shapes and sounds a poem makes using line breaks, rhyme, alliteration, and a whole host of other devices. But while it’s a defining component of poetry, form can seem complex and intimidating. Even the most experienced poets may still struggle to distinguish a Pantoum from a Villanelle or accurately parse the metre of a poem.
Thankfully, a complete mastery of form is not necessary to enjoy—or write!—poetry. A basic understanding of form, however, can give the poet a whole new set of tools with which to make their meaning clear.
For many poets, the artificial and sometimes arbitrary rules of formal poetry signal a loss of choice. This workshop aims to show that, on the contrary, the adoption of a form reveals several private decisions around values, preferences, and intent. The “rules” of a form can be followed faithfully, but they can also be rejected, subverted, or broken completely. Those decisions are matter of personal expression, not unlike subject or image, and allow the poet another layer of individuality and disclosure.
Forms and Frames focuses on artificial forms as a means of expression, subversion, and creative generation. Participants will discuss and practice a small selection of artificial forms from a diverse range of traditions, including the Pantoum, the Haibun, and the Pas-de-Deux. These forms have been chosen specifically because they have (in the Anglo-Canadian context, at least) no set metre. While some small discussion of metre may be necessary during the course of the workshop, no prior knowledge of, or experience with, forms or metres is necessary! Through discussion of these and other artificial forms, guided exercises, free-writing, and voluntary critique, participants of all experience and skill-levels will discover how to make the frame work for them.
Important Note: This workshop will start online. If conditions continue to improve, it may be possible to switch to a hybrid delivery system later this spring if the workshop leader and participants wish to do so.