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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop by California Institute of the Arts

1,365 ratings
552 reviews

About the Course

Why just write poems when you can write better ones? This course is built on the notion that the most exciting writing begins after the first draft. It is specifically for folks who believe that writing poems just to express oneself is like using the Internet just for email. After all, poetry can change the way you and your readers think of the world and its inhabitants; it can break new ground for language; turn a blank sheet of paper into a teeming concert of voices and music. Though any of us may have the potential to make that happen, having an understanding of how several tools of poetic composition can be used (and audaciously “mis-used”) gives you more ways to try (and if we do this right, we might surprise ourselves most of all). We'll cover key poetic terms and devices by studying poems by a handful of modern and contemporary poets and then get a chance to try our own hand at writing new poem drafts from a select number of prompts. Throughout the course you will have the opportunity to workshop your poem drafts and get feedback on your work, working towards a more polished poem....

Top reviews

Jun 22, 2020

This was a superb workshop. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and learned a lot that came in my way. Grasping poetry devices taught in such an fun way was really awesome. The mentors were very supportive.

Jun 11, 2020

Loved the course. Douglas Kearney is amazing as an instructor. I love poetry and this workshop has made me happy during the times of COVID 19. I thank CalArts for the encouragement and appreciation.

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451 - 475 of 556 Reviews for Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop

By Benjamin A C R

Nov 2, 2020

Great and beautiful

By Jessica S

May 10, 2020

I love this course


Sep 16, 2015

Excellent dynamics.

By Alexander P G

Jun 6, 2018

Loved this course.

By Olga S

Feb 18, 2017

Juuuust fantastic!

By Jhon E G

Aug 25, 2015

Just great! Thx.

By Ojasvi G

Aug 6, 2020

I learnt so much

By Debanjon M

Feb 6, 2016

Simply Splendid!

By Gaurav R

Mar 4, 2019

A lot to learn.

By Momo N

Sep 10, 2015


By Myra F T

Sep 14, 2017

Great class!


Mar 8, 2016

Gran curso.

By C E

Mar 13, 2021


By George S

Nov 11, 2016



Aug 20, 2020


By RobertBoucher

Dec 28, 2017

great fun

By Ayman A

May 31, 2021


By Diego S G

Sep 27, 2018


By Silvana A

Oct 21, 2015


By Luis C P D l R

Oct 20, 2015


By Mario R P

Jan 17, 2016


By Halimah A S

Jan 3, 2016


By Randall S S

Aug 17, 2020

Really great introduction to poetry and its construction. Inspired me in a way that I did not anticipate. Douglas Kearney is both entertaining and knowledgeable. The exercises were well thought out and provided a challenge that led me to develop new skills. A couple downsides are in need of mention:

1) The expectations were fairly minimal. This suited me when I had a busy week, but left me wanting more instruction and more exercises during an average week. The expectations should be enough to require near daily writing, not a once a week process.

2) The peer review process is broken. Many of my peers did not take their reviews seriously. Instead they provided minimal, meaningless reviews or no review at all ("good" is not a review!). The course organizers should be monitoring this and asking these students to terminate.

Despite these real problems, I truly enjoyed the content and the exercises, and learned from the comments of other serious students.

By Alden B

Mar 5, 2018

I found the course both interesting and helpful. I had always shied away from formal poetic forms, preferring free verse, but I really enjoyed writing the crown cinquain. In fact, after I wrote in that form, I also wrote a sestina (though not as part of the course). I used to be involved in theatre, and I recall how structural limitations often stimulated creative solutions; I made the same discovery when working within poetic limitations. I found most of the suggestions from other readers quite helpful and believe that they enabled me improve the poems that I submitted. The course was structured well, and the video lectures were clear. I thought the prompts were good. The only thing the course lacked was feedback from a professional poet (the teacher), but I understand that the volume of work and the finances would militate against personal attention. Thanks for the course.

By Meher A

Oct 25, 2017

The revision process was the most frustrating and challenging part of this course. I felt that more instruction could have been provided on this process such as providing extra readings, especially on how to tell when your work is done/revised. The rhythm section was also very confusing and attempted to cram together a lot of information in one section so the course could do with being more evenly paced, rather than introducing us to complex concepts all at once. Overall though, for a course that is available for free, this was a great resource for someone interested in writing poetry. It was engaging, especially yhe videos, and inspiring, especially the poems that were used. It also made me more aware of the tools that a poet can use to make their poems better. Thank you so much!