Calliope Poetry Series

Calliope Craft Workshops 

Recogizing a need for poets serious about learning elements of their craft, Calliope began its winter series of Craft Workshops in January, 2011. Each workshop is led by a senior poet who teaches specific aspects of craft. In a careful examination of memorable, published poems, lessons about craft are illustrated. Topics and instructors change monthly from December through March. This is not a critique workshop of one's own poems,  but an in-depth exploration of how excellent poems are constructed. Topics have included: use of sound, contemporary forms, moving poems about relationship from the personal to the universal, lineation, the lyric narrative, finding one's poetic voice, ekphrastic poems, and other topics.

The Craft Workshops meet in the Lower Activity Room of the West Falmouth Library on a Saturday, from 11 AM to 2:00 PM. The fee is modest for the workshops, which are limited in size. Participants leave with an improved knowledge of how excellent poetry is created that will deepen their own writing.  See a video of Calliope's Founding Director, Alice Kociemba, talking about the Calliope craft workshops.  

Make reservations for workshops on the 
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2016 Workshops

April 2
Alan Feldman

Jump-Start: A Generative Workshop

Poems sometimes take us by surprise, as if they were in us all the while, but never gave us the least clue. This workshop will present writing ideas––not topics, primarily, but ways of making poems about almost any topic––designed to help participants entice poems they might not even have known they wanted to write. "Bring a notebook and lots of energy," Alan advises, "since I anticipate we'll each write two or three poems, and come away with ideas for many more."

Alan Feldman offers weekly drop-in poetry writing sessions at the Framingham and Wellfleet public libraries. Many of the poems in his latest collection, Immortality (University of Wisconsin Press, 2015), came from assignments he has given in his workshops, including some chosen for Best American Poetry (2011), Writer's Almanac, Poetry Daily, and this year's Common Threads.  He is professor emeritus at Framingham State University and for twenty-two years taught the advanced creative writing course at the Radcliffe Seminars.


Feb. 27
Fred Marchant

Music in Our Lives: A Poetry Workshop


This session will invite participants to write about any aspect of music in their lives.  “The music could be from any tradition,” Fred says, “be it classical or jazz or rock and roll or hip-hop. You could indeed write a song lyric, or write about music that lives on in memory, or focus on a musical instrument, a music lesson, a music teacher. You might want to capture in a poem what it feels like to witness a great performance, or even a not-so-good piece of music that failed to touch you. In other words, it’s my hope that you might find a wide-open range of possibility within this topic, and that it will inspire some new poems.” Participants should bring with them a new poem about music that can be discussed during the workshop.

Fred Marchant is the author of Tipping Point, winner of the 1993 Washington Prize in poetry and recently reissued in a 20th Anniversary Second Edition. He is also the author of The Looking House and Full Moon Boat, both books from Graywolf Press. Graywolf will publish his forthcoming book, The Day Later, in 2017. Marchant is also the co-translator (with Nguyen Ba Chung) of From a Corner of My Yard, poetry by the Vietnamese poet Tran Dang Khoa, published in Ha Noi, Viet Nam. He is the editor of Another World Instead: The Early Poems of William Stafford, 1937-1947 (Graywolf Press, 2008), a selection that focuses on the work done while he was a conscientious objector during World War II. He is Professor Emeritus of English and Founding Director of the Creative Writing Program, and of The Poetry Center at Suffolk University in Boston.



March 12
Susan Donnelly

Choices and Changes: Revision and Critique

Bringing a poem to completion involves continuous decision-making and self-critiquing, both conscious and instinctive. In this session, through discussion and writing exercises, participants will consider some of these choices and changes: titles and how they may change a poem; beginnings and endings, where we sometimes say too much; the key energies that emerge and remain through rewriting and how to recognize them. For insight and morale-building, we’ll also look at comments and rough drafts from some well-known writers who’ve gone through the same process. Participants may bring in a completed/near completed poem, along with an earlier draft, for general discussion.

Susan Donnelly’s latest poetry collection is the childhood-based chapbook Sweet Gooseberries. She is the author of three full collections: Eve Names the Animals, Transit, and Capture the Flag, and of three other chapbooks. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals, textbooks, and anthologies, as well as on several websites and blogs. Susan’s poem “Chanson on the Red Line" is a Common Threads choice for 2016. She has taken part in Calliope readings in recent years and conducted a Calliope workshop in 2014. She lives, writes and teaches poetry in Arlington, Massachusetts. 



Previous Workshops


March 21: Jenny Barber, The Music of Syn
February 21: Patrick Donnelly, How to Be a Good Public Reader of Your Own Writing
January 24: Justen Ahren, A Monastic Approach to Writing

March 22: Jennifer Jean, Impossible Love/Impossible Beauty
January 25: Susan Donnelly, Poetry as Practice

March 23: David Surette, The Lyric Narrative Poem
February 23: Sheila Whitehouse, Selecting the Euphonious and Cacophonous
January 26: Sandra Kohler, Creating the Process: Trusting the Creator

December 1: Lorna Knowles Blake, The Gazer's Spirit: A Poetry Workshop
March 24: Christine Casson, The Pattern of the Dance
February 25: Barry Hellman, Writing Poems About Family, Friends, Lovers and Others
January 28: Sheila Whitehouse: A Burble Through the Tulgey Wood, Or How to Use Meter and Sound in Poetry

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