Taught by Alex Wells Shapiro

Wednesdays, August 2, 9, 16, 23, 30

7-9 pm ET on Zoom

Class limit: 12


While the shift from formal to free verse poetry in popular lit culture has liberated many writers to explore form more fully, it’s siloed conversations about the function and aesthetic of the line break. This occurrence in a culture that has more broadly deprioritized poetry in education has led to fewer opportunities for people to play with language and the space of the page in environments without consequence of grades or rigid peer critique. This workshop will encourage such play through generative found poetry activities where the participants will make and find poetry within noncreative texts. These opportunities to discuss how poetry is derived will be paired with readings of poets utilizing breaks and page space in dynamic ways, from the subtle, simple lines of Darius Simpson and Victoria Chang, to Dianne Suess and Terrance Hayes’s remakings of the sonnet, to Mary Szybist’s poems dancing across the page with varying concreteness. This will be a good space for beginners and advanced writers hoping to reattune themselves to basics. 

In this workshop you will:

● Play with language in ways that could lead to a poem

● Read and discuss work from at least 5 contemporary poets

● Generate at least two new poems

● Workshop poems with classmates

Alex Wells Shapiro 

Alex Wells Shapiro (he/him) is a poet, artist, and organizer from the Hudson Valley, living in Chicago. Northeastern University and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago gave him degrees. He serves as Poetry Editor for Another Chicago Magazine, and co-curates Exhibit B: A Literary Variety Show. His poems have been published in Cleaver, Vassar Review, Fourteen Hills, Fatal Flaw, The Under Review, and elsewhere, and are forthcoming in The Spectacle and Laurel Review He is the author of a full-length collection of poems, Insect Architecture (Unbound Edition 2022), and a chapbook, Gridiron Fables (Bottlecap Features 2022). More of his work can be found at

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