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Crafting Poetry (NCAA Approved)

Open to: Grades 8 - 12

Eligibility: CTY-level or Advanced CTY-level verbal score required

Prerequisites: Successful completion of CTY Online Programs Writing Analysis & Persuasion or CTY Intensive Studies Critical Essay

Challenge Level: College undergraduate

Course Format: Session Based. See calendar for session dates and application deadlines.

Recommended School Credit: One-half academic year

Course Length: 20 weeks (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, Spring), 12 weeks (Early Summer), or 6 weeks (Late Summer).

Course Code: CDPO

green arrow Available Start Dates: 8/24/20, 9/21/20, 1/18/21, 4/26/21, 5/31/21

Course Description

This course is an introduction to contemporary poetry, emphasizing prosody. Prosody is the term given to the musical aspects of poetry, the patterns and conventions of sound, and the effects they have on the reader or audience. Imagery in poems is also explored. Students write their own poems and also read and comment on the work of well-known poets such as William Blake, Lucille Clifton, and Seamus Heaney. Comprehensive revision, based on in-depth critiques from the instructor, is strongly emphasized.

Topics covered:

  • Finding inspiration
  • Dramatic monologue
  • Rhyme, rhyme scheme, and sonorous effects
  • Anglo-saxon lines
  • Sapphic stanzas
  • Poetic forms
  • Imagery
  • Variations in tone
  • Poetic structure
  • Revision

The course includes a required, on-line, asynchronous writers' workshop in which participants post feedback for one another. This course does not have any synchronous class meetings, but students may schedule one-on-one virtual meetings directly with the instructor.

Students may be invited to interact in CTY community spaces that include students and instructors and potentially specially invited guests that are not enrolled in their course. Student contributions (e.g., projects, forum posts, etc.) may remain in the course after the student completes the course. These artifacts may be preserved to showcase student work or to continue important conversations.

Grammar Note

Skilled, careful writers follow the conventions of Standard Written English, but writing is much more than mere adherence to convention. Instructors discuss grammar only when it affects meaning. Writing courses are not remedial. Students must already be proficient in Standard Written English.

Materials Needed

Students are not required to purchase any additional materials or texts for this course.

Course Details

Crafting Poetry




Read and study W.H. Auden's poem "Musee de Beaux Arts." Find a painting and derive your own poem, like Auden's, from your observations in and off the painting.


To recognize the effect of voice and persona on shifts in tone and a poem's mood. To write a poem in which you modulate the poem's voice and create variations in its tone or mood.


Read, listen to, and be able to identify different types of rhyme, rhyme scheme, and sonorous effects, such as consonance, assonance, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Write a poem endowed with various rhyming and sonorous effects.


Read, listen to, and be able to discern stresses in a line, various metrical feet, and to develop skill at scansion. Write a poem with particular attention paid to stresses and the rhythm in the lines.


Read, listen to, and be able to identify lineation features, such as caesura, enjambment, and end-stops, and their effects on tempo, mood, and imagery. Write a poem with particular attention paid to lineation.


Read, listen to, and be able to identify a variety of poetic forms, including villanelle, sestina, and variations of the sonnet. Write a poem in one of these forms.


To understand imagery, both in the way it captures meaning and the effect it has on a poem's tone. To recognize the connections between image, mind, and body. To write a poem composed of nothing more than a list of things. To arrange the list so that juxtaposed images create a cinematic effect.


To understand how imagery is interwoven with other elements of poetry in ways analogous to filmmaking. To arrange a poem's imagery in order to create cinematic effects: directing the mind's eye of the reader like a camera, adding voiceover and other sensual detail (color, sound, smell, texture), and producing a poem with variations in tone.


To begin perceiving how structures in a poem enact (i.e., act out, dramatize) by the way they evolve into a dynamic form what a poem conveys by way of assertion. To understand the structures of a poem are the intellectual or logical shapes into which its thoughts are organized. To write a poem in which there is an overarching structure with several substructures.


To revise an earlier poem by enhancing the concreteness and palpability of its imagery, adjusting its syntax, culling unnecessary words and phrases, and/or condensing what's said to maximum poetic effectiveness--that is, a composition of verses with multiple layers of meaning.

Time Required

  • 3 hours weekly for the 20-week sessions (Early Fall, Late Fall, Winter, and Spring)
  • 5 hours weekly for the 12-week session (Early Summer)
  • 2 hours daily Monday - Friday during the intensive 6-week session (Late Summer)

Sample First Assignment


Poetry is the clear expression of mixed feelings.  -- W.H. Audenportrait of W.H. Auden


Read and study W.H. Auden's poem "Musee de Beaux Arts." Find a painting and derive your own poem, like Auden's, from your observations in and off the painting.


  1. Read all of the following directions before you click anywhere, link anywhere, or do anything.
  2. Go to Poetry Pages. There you will find both Auden's famous poem and the Brueghel painting from which the poem derived. Study the poem, the painting, and the commentary about each that are on the web site. A smart thing to do would be to print the webpage where these appear.
  3. Then go to the WebMuseum and find a painting that inspires you. Think of paintings and artists that you like and look them up first. If you don't have any favorites, browse the collection until you find something that catches your fancy.
  4. Write your poem, make it at least 20 lines long, and submit it by the deadline date for Assignment 1.
  5. Have fun.

Technical Requirements

This course requires a properly maintained computer with high-speed internet access and an up-to-date web browser (such as Chrome or Firefox). The student must be able to communicate with the instructor via email. Visit the Technical Requirements and Support page for more details.



"I learned a lot about poetry, and became more brave in experimenting with the templates, length, and typography. Thank you, [Instructor's first name]!"

"The course was wonderful. :) "

"Mrs. C___ was an amazing teacher. She was very insightful and is an expert at all forms of poetry. She would correct you without being too mean, and she had many ideas that influenced me immensely.
"Mrs. C___ made me more interested in poetry than ever before. I realized that poetry is a great way to open up someone's soul."