Judith Roche Poetry


I offer a number of both general poetry and targeted workshops. Below is a sampling of workshops I have taught in the past. Any one of them can be modified to be a three-hour workshop or a several-week class. And, I am open to suggestions as to how you would like to focus the workshop.

Poetry Writing

Focusing on Pound's "elements of poetry," melopoesis, phanopoesis, and logopoesis, we will further explore the art of poesis, the making. This is primarily a writing class but there will be plenty of reading, exploring trends and ideas from Modernism to the present, up through Pound and Eliot, and venture into the Black Mountain poets, the language poets, contemporary poetry, and into hip hop. In the meantime we’ll experiment with forms beyond vers libre, including the pantoum, the sestina, the villanelle, the gazel, the sonnet and others. We’ll mine sources of poems, from everyday life to deep myth.

The Poetics of Place: A River Runs Through Us

“Wendall Berry says, “If you don’t know where you are you don’t know who you are.” Not sure how entirely true this is in an existential way, but it has some truth to it. We are rooted in place– and in displacement – even if we are just passing through. But how to get to the life of a place, beyond the static and expected observations? Through readings - Snyder, Berry, Oliver, others and targeted exercises – we’ll approach writing about home, land, identity and place, whether landscape of our minds, a remembered one, or a very physical and present one.

Generating New Poems

Through a series of targeted exercises and reading an array of poets, both contemporary and older, we’ll work on generating new poems. Along the way we’ll discuss the elements of poetry (phanopoeia, melopoeia and logopoeia) and issues of craft. This is more a writing and talking class than a reading class. Our goal will be to have several completed poems by the end of the class and a number of poem starts, ideas and inspirations to work at in your own time. All experience levels welcome and individual conferences if desired. If you are new to poetry, or if you are experienced but stuck somewhere in your poetic process, this will be a good class to get you going.

In Search of Duendé

What is it and how to foster it in our own poems? We’ll read and discuss Fredrico Garcia’s Lorca’s famous essay on the concept of Duendé, and try to come to an understanding of what the elusive term might mean. Traditionally in Andalucian culture, it was largely applied to Gypsy music and to Flamenco dance, "All that has dark sounds has Duende," wrote Andalusian cantor Manuel Torre. What does it mean to the poem? This is a writing and reading class and we’ll do some of both each day. Suitable for all levels of experience.


Writing reading, reading writing is a blessed continuum for poets in which one flows into the other almost seamlessly. In this workshop we’ll explore that flow by reading poems to act as a springboard generating new poems. Students will create new poems and perhaps be introduced poets and forms they might not already know. The class will include critiquing individual poems and use these critiques as opportunities for short lessons, addressing issues of craft raised by the particular poem we're looking at, paying special attention to Pound’s Elements of Poetry: phanopoeia, melopoeia, and logopoeia. All levels of experience welcome.

Issues of Craft

This is a writing class focused on sharpening the tools in the poet’s toolbox. Using poem examples we’ll look at basic elements of poetry and various craft issues, including line-breaks, meter, rhyme and form, repetition and revision. Each session will include a craft lecture with examples, an in-class writing exercise, and a workshop session to look at participants’ poems. This class will be a good introduction to beginners and a good review for more experienced poets. Along the way we’ll be generating new poems with the exercises, ideas and examples.

Sappho and the Love Poem

It is said that there were no love poems between Sappho, 6th century B.C., and the Troubadours, a span of almost 1,500 years! While that may be an exaggeration, the tradition of passionate love poems was strangely absent from Western literature during that time span. In this class we will read Sappho and talk about her time and place in literature. We’ll also dip into the Troubadours and their tradition, and finish with some contemporary love poems. This is largely a class of reading and discussion but we’ll do some in-class writing exercises as well.

The Pleasure of Poetic Forms

Now that vers libre has become the dominate poetic expression of our times , many have forgotten the pleasure of writing in form. This class will explore various forms and what unique qualities each can bring to our poems. Using master poets as our models, both contemporary and historical, we will go step by step through the forms to write villanelles, pantoums, sestinas, odes, triolets, syllabic verse, and that most elusive of forms, the sonnet. Along the way we’ll look more closely at free verse as a form and what really makes it work.

Eternal Persons of the Poem, Writing from Myth and Fairy Tales

Gods and mythic personas play in and out of our literature and, through their stories, help us understand our own lives. Poet Robert Duncan calls them “Eternal Persons of the Dream,” and they live in our deepest psyches. This class will explore those archetypes by looking at poems based on the truth and life of myth and the dark heart of fairy tales, from writers including H.D., Homer, Levertov, Kizer, diPrima, Atwood, and Duncan, and write our own poems based on mythic consciousness. There will be both in-class and out-of-class writing prompts and end-of-term conferences with the instructor.

Judith Roche
178 Lake Dell Ave
Seattle, WA 98122
206 329-4687

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