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

4.8
stars
1,382 ratings
563 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

VS
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.

SM
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 563 Reviews for Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop

By Luis C P D l R

Oct 20, 2015

Great!

By Mario R P

Jan 17, 2016

S

By Halimah A S

Jan 3, 2016

I

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!

By E.m. T

Jun 11, 2016

The course itself is amazing. I learned so much. I used to only write prose poetry and thanks to this course I was able to write different forms. Besides the mentors' give such great comments and they are always eager to help. Also the professor is funny and choose really good poems to analyse.

The only thing that was a pity is that people post their work, but few people want to actively comment on other people's poetry. It is not as participative as it could be. However, some workshops to comment to get comments.

All in all, truly amazing course!

By Raj K B

Nov 21, 2016

Very interesting course; the only issue I had was with the students grading each other's poems. I would have preferred the teacher or the mentors to be grading them since they are presumably well versed with the art of poetry and the various techniques involved in their creation. While the grading process might enhance the learning of the students, it should not come at the cost of one's grades due to the obvious limitations or biases of the student graders.

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..

Thank-you

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.