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362868: The "F" Word: Innovative Poetic Forms

  • Fall 2018
  • Section 1
  • 2 Credits
  • 10/24/2018 to 12/04/2018
  • Modified 05/31/2018



  • Students will discover relationships between a poem's form and its content
  • Students will understand the relationship between traditional poetic forms and innovative forms.
  • Students will employ poetic tools (sound, rhyme, meter, lineation, and so on) to critique poems and develop their own innovative forms


By the end of this course, students will be able to read poetry with a more clear sense of form's role in making meaning, and they will be able to write poems using received forms and forms of their own design.


The following books are required or recommended for this course.

Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms

  • Author: David Lehman, ed.
  • Publisher: University of Michigan Press
  • Edition: 2
  • ISBN: 978-0472066339

The Book of Forms

  • Author: Lewis Turco
  • Publisher: UPNE
  • Edition: Revised and Expanded Ed.
  • ISBN: 978-1611680355
  • Optional


There are 100 points possible in this course.

40 points Poem assignments
30 points Participation in weekly poem workshops
30 points Participation in weekly reading discussions


In this course, you will earn points toward your final grade by reading assignments and discussing them in forums, writing poems in response to assignment prompts, and discussing poems by your classmates posted in our forums.

Your initial discussion posts should respond thoughtfully and critically to our reading assignments. Note what stood out to you about the works you read, what these poems offer you in terms of craft lessons, what was problematic for you as a reader, and what questions you have for the class for further discussion. Posts should be at least 100 words.

Replies to classmates should be 1-2 thoughtful sentences in length, and do more than suggest you agree or disagree with the ideas presented in the post. 


Poems should be posted as attachments to a Canvas discussion post in Word (.doc or .docx) format or rich text format (.rtf). Students should download and read poems, making comments on drafts using tracked changes or other markup tools. Finally, students should repost their marked up attachments and provide a 3-5 sentence discussion of their response to the poem.

In the event of technology failures, students must send assignments as attachments to me through Canvas messaging. I will then post it into the forum on your behalf.

Work submitted after the assignment deadline has passed but within one week of the original deadline will be docked one point from the final score. Work submitted after that period will not receive any credit. 

Discussion posts and responses to students submitted after the deadlines will be docked one point. Discussion posts made after the module week ends will not receive credit.

It can be challenging to assign grades in a course where students take creative risks, push themselves artistically, and generally work outside their comfort zones. For that reason, grades do not reflect artistic decisions you make in the poems. Instead, you are graded on how effectively you met the criteria of the assignment (the prompt).

Discussion posts that meet the length and thoroughness expectations will receive full credit. Poem submissions that respond effectively to the assignment prompt will receive full credit. Posts or poems that do not fulfill the criteria will lose points, all the way up to receiving no credit at all. 

If you believe a grade has been posted in error, or has been calculated unfairly, please contact me through Canvas messaging to discuss your perspective. If our conversation doesn't satisfy you, you may contact the Director of the Arts department for additional review.

Modules will become available on Mondays. Please do not post or turn in poem assignments before the first day of the module (Wednesday). If you have special circumstances, please contact me via Canvas messaging before working ahead in this course.


90-100 A Pass
80-89 B Pass
70-79 C Pass
69 or below F Fail

Course Policies

Reading and Workshopping Guidelines

  • Be open and supportive of the risks taken by your workshop peers
  • Offer praise first, constructive criticism toward revision second
  • Listen attentively when your work is critiqued—notes are encouraged
  • Wait to respond to criticism until the end of your critique session
  • Read and make notes on your assigned readings—come to each workshop ready to discuss

Artistic Guidelines

This course is designed to challenge you and expand your concepts about poetic form. Please be prepared to take risks with your writing, and respect and support the risks of your classmates.

Every assignment should be a first or mostly-first draft in order to allow for the greatest level of discovery for future revisions. You are not expected to reinvent the wheel in this class. Identifying the possibility that wheels can exist is enough.

Institutional Policies

Student Conduct

Students are subject to disciplinary action for several types of misconduct or attempted misconduct, including but not limited to dishonesty, such as cheating, multiple submission, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University; or theft or misuse of the intellectual property of others or violation of others' copyrights. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with policy provisions which proscribe these and other forms of misconduct at:

Services for Students with Disabilities

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, UCLA Extension provides appropriate accommodations and support services to qualified applicants and students with disabilities. These include, but are not limited to, auxiliary aids/services such as sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices for hearing-impaired individuals, extended time for and proctoring of exams, and registration assistance. Accommodations and types of support services vary and are specifically designed to meet the disability-related needs of each student based on current, verifiable medical documentation. Arrangements for auxiliary aids/services are available only through UCLA Extension’s Service for Students with Disabilities Office at (310) 825-7851 or by email at [email protected]. For complete information see:


Your instructor may post the interim grade Incomplete/I if at the end of the class your overall work is of passing quality but a portion could not be submitted for understandable reasons (e.g. illness). It is your responsibility to petition your instructor for permission to submit work late and to provide an explanation, and it is his or her sole decision whether to accept the explanation. If permitted, the Incomplete/I grade will be posted and a time frame defined for you to submit the missing work, ranging from one to twelve weeks. Incomplete/I grades that remain unchanged after twelve weeks will lapse to F, NP or U. Receiving an I grade entitles you to submit only the missing work your instructor has agreed to accept late, and does not allow other work to be retaken or oblige UCLA Extension to provide continuing access to course materials via Canvas. The Incomplete/I grade is not an option for courses that do not bear credit, such as 700, 800, or 900-level courses. For complete information, see:

All Grades are Final

No change of grade may be made by anyone other than the instructor, and then, only to correct clerical errors. No term grade except Incomplete may be revised by re-examination. The correction of a clerical error may be authorized only by the instructor of record communicating directly with personnel of Student and Alumni Services.

Sexual Harassment

The University of California is committed to creating and maintaining a community where all individuals who participate in University programs and activities can work and learn together in an atmosphere free of harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. Every member of the community should be aware that the University prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence, and that such behavior violates both law and University policy. The University will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and will take appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates our policy.

All Extension students and instructors who believe they have been sexually harassed are encouraged to contact the Department of Student and Alumni Services for complaint resolution: UCLA Extension, Suite 113, 10995 Le Conte Ave., Westwood; Voice/TTY: (310) 825-7031. View the University’s full Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence at

Additional Items

About Your Online Course Materials

Please note the following about online course components at UCLA Extension:

  • Students must have basic computer skills, including the use of word processing software, email, and the ability to use internet browsers, such as Safari, Firefox, or Chrome.
  • Students are responsible for meeting the technical requirements of Canvas and familiarizing themselves with the Canvas Learning Management System.
  • Students are responsible for keeping a copy of all assignments and work submitted, and to be aware of all assignments, due dates, and course guidelines.
  • Students are encouraged to keep and/or download a local copy of their assignment files, as access to the online environment of a specific course is limited to 30 days after the final course date, as listed in the course catalog.

    If you need assistance downloading student materials from your course, please contact Canvas Support or the UCLA Extension Learning Support Team.

UCLA Extension Canvas and Learning Support

For immediate 24/7 Canvas technical support, including holidays, click on Help (located on the menu to the left) where you can call or chat live with a Canvas Support representative.

UCLA Extension Instructional Design and Learning Support
The UCLA Extension Learning Support staff assists both students and instructors with Canvas-related technical support, as well as general and administrative questions.

Learning Support staff is available Monday through Friday, from 8 AM to 5 PM (Pacific Time), except holidays:


Course calendar and related activities
When Topic Notes
Week 1

Introduce yourself to the class by Saturday at 5 pm. Respond to two other student posts by Tuesday at noon.

Week 1
Reinvented Traditional Forms

Read the lecture and poems for this week, then respond to the discussion prompt with an initial post by Saturday at 5 pm. Respond to at least two other students by Tuesday at noon.

Week 1
Poem Assignment
Poem 1: Reinvented/Corrupted Traditional Form

Write a poem that reinvents an existing traditional form, such as the sonnet, villanelle, sestina, and so on, or corrupt this form to change its requirements to suit your own design. Post your poem by noon on Saturday of Week 2.

Week 2
Poem Workshop
Poem 1: Reinvented Traditional Forms

Post your poem as an attachment to the discussion forum by Saturday at noon. Read and respond to your classmates by noon on Tuesday.

Week 2
Form as an Expression of Content

Read Frank Bidart, Maxine Chernoff, and Alfred Corn's entries in Ecstatic Occasions and respond to the discussion prompt in the discussion forum. Post your initial response by Saturday at noon, and respond to at least two classmates by noon on Tuesday.

Week 2
Poem Assignment
Form from Content

Write a poem where the form is inspired by, drawn from, or relates to the poem’s content. Post it on Saturday of Week 3 by noon.

Week 3
Poem Workshop
Form from Content

Post your poem by noon on Saturday. Respond to your classmates's poems by noon on Tuesday.

Week 3
Sound and Form

Read Jim Dolot, Harryette Mullen, and Susan Wheeler's entries in Ecstatic Occasions, then respond to the discussion forum prompt by noon on Saturday. Respond to at least two classmates by noon on Tuesday.

Week 3
Poem Assignment
Sound Leading to Form

Write a poem that uses sound as its guide, or where sound directs its form. Post it on Saturday of Week 4 by noon.

Week 4
Poem Workshop
Sound Leading to Form

Post your poem by noon on Saturday. Respond to your classmates's poems by noon on Tuesday.

Week 4
Form Is External

Read Rita Dove, Charles Wright, and Denise Duhamel's entries in Ecstatic Occasions, then respond to the discussion forum prompt by noon on Saturday. Respond to at least two classmates by noon on Tuesday.

Week 4
Poem Assignment
External Restrictions

Write a poem using an external restriction, such as the media used to write it, "canvas size," letters used, etc. Post it on Saturday of Week 5 by noon.

Week 5
Poem Workshop
External Restrictions

Post your poem by noon on Saturday. Respond to your classmates's poems by noon on Tuesday.

Week 5
Received Forms

Read Lloyd Schwartz and Paul Violi's entries in Ecstatic Occasions, then respond to the discussion forum prompt by noon on Saturday. Respond to at least two classmates by noon on Tuesday.

Week 5
Poem Assignment
Unpoetic Forms

Write a poem in a nontraditional or "unpoetic" form. Post it on Saturday of Week 6 by noon.

Week 6
Poem Workshop
Unpoetic Forms

Post your poem by noon on Saturday. Respond to your classmates's poems by noon on Tuesday.

Week 6
What Form Has Taught Us

Read the lecture and discussion prompt in this week's forum. Respond with your initial post by noon on Saturday. Reply to at least two classmates by noon on Tuesday.