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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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476 - 500 of 554 Reviews for Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop

By Magdalene C

Mar 13, 2020

It is a very condensed course and I think it works better for students who already have some experience writing poems. I'm new to poetry and it took me some time to catch on the various technicalities which were zoomed by very quickly. Certainly feels more like a revision course. Nevertheless, the course has been fun and enjoyable. I learned a lot about poetry writing. The course makes me want to know more about poetry writing. Thank you for this opportunity.

By Clare M

Jun 4, 2020

I throughly enjoyed the Sharpened Visions Poetry course with Douglas, he has a lovely engaging approach and delivery. I learned a lot.

The only area that I felt was lacking was regards feedback on submissions. Which I could not find at all and I never knew how other students felt about reviews I had submitted. I felt this was at the heart of the course for learning and missed that link..


By Fred P

Oct 25, 2015

A fun and engaging experience, excellent writing prompts. The kind of on-line educational experience I appreciate- encouraging and supportive, yet completely unwilling to take itself too seriously. The on-line poetry workshop experience with peers can be hit or miss, but even so, I gained some unexpected insights into my writing. Well worth enrolling and completing.

By Anshika S

Aug 31, 2020

The course is amazing. Got to learn so many new things and there was a definite improvement in my writing skill. However, i wish the content was more culture neutral. the poems picked, the examples used were mostly centered USA and as an Asian it was a bit difficult to catch on. Nevertheless one should definitely go for this course. the mentor is amazing as well.

By Shashank D

May 13, 2020

I really liked this course as I got what I was looking for. This course gives a very creative and nice way of learning poetry and also the tools to make them better. The content provided here was very relevant and knowledge boosting. Only thing that could have been better was the explanation of few topics. Overall it's a great course if you want to learn poetry.

By Ian B

Aug 2, 2017

Great course to learn the fundamentals of poetry writing. I wish I was held to more of a deadline, as most prompts didn't need to be turned in, and thus I wasn't able to benefit from feedback or criticism, but on the whole this is a great class and worth the time if you're looking to learn how to put a poem together effectively.

By Vinyas M

May 11, 2016

Course was great with very nice prompts.

The only issue I had was with scoring. Since this was mainly a workshop more emphasis should've been given to feedback of an assignment rather than scoring points. Sometimes readers of a poem might not be able to grasp what the author intended and cause the student to fail the assignment,

By Atul B

Jan 26, 2020

The syllabus was an eye opener for someone who wants to delve into the world of poetry. How metaphors, rhymes and rhythms are the pillars of poetry. However, I do feel that the rhythms sections needs to be simpler and more exhaustive as it's the most overlooked aspect making people read silently instead of reading vocally.

By Nabeel M

Nov 10, 2015

fantastic course - only slight issues are quizzes that seek to trick you on the way they are worded rather than actual knowledge, and slight america-centric-ness of the material used (although all material was still fantastic, an example or two from non western poets might have been interesting to add)

By Faithlynn C

Dec 1, 2015

I really enjoyed this course. Although I wish there had been more practices to instill the firm knowledge of what the content was. Computer flashcards, or even extra little quizzes in each lesson would have been nice. Other than that, great course, great teacher, and great content! Thank you!

By Khawla R

Dec 29, 2019

This is my first poetry workshop. I have learned many things and got to know new poets. The instructor is informative (and sometimes funny). I think if anyone wants to dive into the poetry realm, I think this is a safe start! Thanks to Cal Arts and Coursera for providing the course J

By Doug P

Nov 24, 2015

Overall felt it to be an excellent course. A refresher in some areas and mind expander in others. Has been decades since taxing my brain so. Had a few browser issues but it all worked out. Some of the prompts were interesting and quite a challenge. Compliments to the chefs...

By Swikrit K

Jul 9, 2019

Sometimes waiting for reviewing other peoples work takes a while if enough other students aren't at the same stage as you. Maybe an alternative solution for this would be to have more then two students review a luck someone's work if there isn't enough to go around?

By Doris M M

Sep 19, 2021

I loved this course and came away much more knowledgeable of the mechanics of writing poetry. The only reason I did not give the course 5 stars is because I could not read all of my peers work. There are really some very talented poets out there!

By farhat f

Aug 31, 2017

The video lessons in this course were not only enjoyable but also extremely enlightening. They were just the right length. I especially found the videos on revision very helpful.

Evaluations of Peer Assignments weren't all that satisfactory though

By Anveer R

Aug 4, 2020

The best thing about the course was the instructor, although I have never met him I immediately felt connected with him and understood everything he taught. My only wish was that the course should have been longer that's how much I enjoyed it.

By Harshita P

Aug 28, 2020

I like this course very much. I learned many poetic devices also got to know various forms of poetry. the most interesting topic was revision although after drafting the entire poem revision is the most important part to make it final draft.

By Georgette J

Oct 18, 2020

It was good for a self-directed course. You get what you put into it, so the extent of learning is up to the student. It has been 20 years since I have taken a course, so this course helped me get back into the groove of learning again.

By Vishal O

Jun 20, 2020

Brief and engaging! The practices ensured that I did real work. And the properly organized structure made sure that we learned the basics that are most important. I'm grateful to the creators and the community that has been so supportive.

By Liz G

Jun 3, 2020

A beginner's introduction to poetry and key concepts, but well presented. Readings were good introductions to poets I didn't know and also good examples for the lessons.=. The prompts were also useful and led to interesting exercises.

By Shruti R

Aug 13, 2020

Great course! What an insightful and fun workshop, it teaches interesting writing techniques as well as essential tools for writing a poem. Plus, the dramatic and funny professor is the cherry on the cake. I highly recommend. :D

By Kapil C

May 11, 2020

It was absolutely lovely to be a part of this course. Mr. Douglas kept the energy going. The assignments were super interesting and reviewing peers was an exciting experience. I have learned so much from this. Thank you!

By Johanna M

Nov 9, 2018

This course is great, but if you are looking for something challenging, this might not be the one. Overall, though, it helped me to go back to the basics and analyze my poetry from a foundational standpoint.

By Sanelisiwe E M

Feb 13, 2017

This course truly opened my eyes on the importance of revision, I recommend this course not only for budding poets but even for those who have never attempted poetry. You will learn a great deal.

By Sr. M A

Apr 16, 2020

This was a great poetry course that is for a person of beginning level. I really enjoyed it because I've been want to learn more about poetry and it helped get my poetic juices flowing again.