Online Poetry Classes

Writing the Short Poem with LouAnn Muhm

I took LouAnn’s class on compression in poetry to challenge myself and try writing poetry again, something I hadn’t done in years, having focused on fiction. Her class brought me back to a love of writing poetry. But it did so much more than that. It positively affected every aspect of my life as a writer (a freelance writer by profession, fiction as an avocation). Learning about compression and the vital importance of every word and how to deeply analyze text on a word-by-word basis made me a better writer. I use those skills every day, for poetry, fiction, and for my freelance work. I can’t recommend LouAnn enough as an instructor (and I went on to take subsequent classes from her, each as valuable as the first).” ( quote from class participant Amy C, Rea)

This is a fully-online course. There are no in-person meetings.

Writing the Short Poem I (5 weeks): Feb. 17- March 20, 2020— $150

Registration deadline: January 30, 2020. Ten spots available, first-come, first served

Writing the Short Poem II (5 weeks): March 30-May 1, 2020–$150 (open to those who have taken session I of this class)

Registration deadline: March 15, 2020. Ten spots available, first-come, first served

email northbeachwriters@gmail.com to register
or for more information

Have you been told that your poems read like prose, or that “maybe that poem would work better as a short story”? Do you have trouble deciding what to cut from your rough drafts? One of the characteristics that makes poetry poetic is the compression of language. In this class, we will read and discuss a variety of short poems, practice cutting extraneous language from poems (by others and by you), and think about what kinds of language can (should?) almost always be cut. We will work with your drafts, old and new, and generate new poems with an emphasis on compression and concision. We will explore a variety of short forms as well as concise free verse. The skills practiced in this class will also help with longer poems, and even with tightening up your prose writing.

Writing the Short Poem I (5 weeks): Feb. 17- March 20, 2020— $150

Registration deadline: January 30, 2020. Ten spots available, first-come, first served

Topics covered in this 5-week session include:

  • How to talk about poems in a workshop setting
  • Titles
  • What to cut (revision by cutting)
  • Found Poems
  • Using metaphor
  • Using forms in poetry (i.e. sonnet, tanka, haiku…)

Participants will participate in online discussions, do some practice exercises, write new poem drafts based on prompts, and give and receive constructive feedback on those drafts, from the instructor and from each other.

Writing the Short Poem II (5 weeks): March 30-May 1, 2020–$150 (open to those who have taken session I of this class)

Registration deadline: March 15, 2020. Ten spots available, first-come, first served

Topics covered in this 5-week session include:

  • What makes poems “good”?
  • Radical methods of revision
  • Recoverability in poems (what to leave out/how much mystery is too much)
  • Your writing process
  • Line breaks
  • Publication

Participants will participate in online discussions, do some practice exercises, write new poem drafts based on prompts, and give and receive constructive feedback on those drafts, from the instructor and from each other.

What previous participants had to say:

I love the online atmosphere; there is less pressure to produce on a specific day of the week. There is almost greater contact because you aren’t limited to one day a week, a two hour time frame. You have access to the teacher and other students through messaging. Plus, it’s easier to see and comprehend other people’s comments and writings.


LouAnn is a remarkable teacher. She always has the best interests of her students at heart, and takes time with each one.


I’ve enjoyed reading all of the extra material instructor provides, very helpful and thought-provoking. The online chats make you feel connected, a good way to get to know other students. And of course, it has been good for my writing and reading, keeping me going and expanding my poetry skills.


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