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Class: The Contemporary Sonnet: Birdcage and Bird

Thu, November 2, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 4:00 pm

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Dean Young urged poets to make “birds” rather than “birdcages,” but the sonnet’s been doing both things for 800+ years, recently surging in popularity among women and BIPOC+ poets. What is its secret to longevity, how does it remain vital and relevant? The answer lies within the form itself, a paradox balancing formal restraint with release that harbors a hidden and very powerful charge. We’ll look at classic Petrarchan and Shakespearean sonnets, as well as contemporary examples by poets like Terrance Hayes, Tyehimba Jess, Diane Seuss, Patricia Smith, and others. We’ll talk about the sonnet as an amazingly effective generative writing prompt as well as spend time writing.

The location of this class is to be determined based on attendance.

Registration Notes

Adult classes must meet a minimum number of students 45 days ahead of the class start date (Sep 18, 2023). Once a class has reached minimum enrollment, registration will remain open 1 – 2 weeks before the class start date.

If a class has met minimum enrollment and been confirmed, no refunds will be given within 45 days of the class start. Click here to review our full cancellation policy.

Adult scholarships are available based on financial need. Click here to apply for a scholarship.


We take the COVID-19 pandemic seriously. Click here to read our full COVID-19 safety procedures and policies.


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