Introduction to Writing Poetry and Plays
The goal of this class is to introduce students to the basic elements that make up
various poetic forms and to the basic elements of writing a one act play. There will be
no homework and no grades in this class. I hope the student will go away with an
appreciation for and an elementary understanding of poetry and plays.
Week 1 How should we define poetry? What are the basic elements of
poetry? Example: “Fog” by Carl Sandberg (Free Verse)
Write a free verse poem.
Week 2 Metaphor, simile, onomatopoeia
Example: “The Bells” by Edgar Allen Poe
Write a free verse poem using one or more of these elements.
Week 3 Rhyme schemes, slant rhymes, internal rhymes
Example: “Lady from Leeds” (Limerick)
Write a limerick.
Week 4 Line breaks and enjambment
Example: “Endymion” by John Keats
Write a poem using the form of your choice. Think about line breaks
and why you are breaking lines where you are.
Week 5 Metrical patterns: meter, foot, syllable, stress
Explanation of metrical patterns; definition of foot; counting syllables
and determining stress. Practice in counting syllables in Haiku poems.
Write a Haiku poem.
Week 6 Stanza/strophe
Poetic forms examined: Sonnet, Couplet
Write a sonnet.
Week 7 Poetry workshop: for this class, we will work on the six poems we’ve
Week 8 Introduction to Playwriting: elements of a one-act play
Week 9 Setting: time in history, social milieu, and location
Mapping out the setting (drawing, describing, or creating a collage)
Week 10 Characters: physical description, personality, personal history
Creating a character profile: character types
Week 11 Plots and structure
Mapping out the plot structure: what’s the conflict?
Week 12 Dialogues, monologues, asides, narration
Role playing to reach natural dialogues
Week 13 Stage direction: entering, exiting, moving around the stage.
Costumes and props.
Week 14 Workshop: putting on the finishing touches
Week 15 Play rehearsals
Week 16 Performing the plays
Teacher: Beverly Rousseau
Cost: See pricing chart
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