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

1,378 ratings
560 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 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.

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.

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501 - 525 of 561 Reviews for Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop

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.

By Laurie D

Mar 8, 2019

I appreciate the practicality of assignments and delivery of concepts for writing poetry. I learned some skills and it gave me structure. The conversation between students is less accessible.

By Lia

Feb 8, 2021

Nice workshop! Informative and open to exploration. The instructor made the workshop fun without loosing the depth of poetry. I feel that I will read poetry with other eyes! Thank you


May 10, 2020

I really like this course and have learned a lot systematically from it! I hope the tutor mentoring and feedback can be a little bit more if possible in this course in future.

By Rohini M

Jan 16, 2019

I Just loved this course. I learnt a lot of things about poetry. Soon i wish i would publish a book on poetry by writing and incorporating the lessons learnt in the class.

By alex d

Jan 29, 2020

Excellent course for poets of all levels! A great refresher course if you're looking to learn more about the beauty of poetry or if you're simply looking for inspiration!

By Marsheila R

Jul 13, 2021

D​oug was great, the info was great. Peer review was often frustrating as you were not paired with people at the same level so their comments were often unhelpful.

By Benedick G

Jul 7, 2016

Very fun instructor.

The peer review as a workshop is perfect.

I just wish that there are more poems to study and that it's longer or it has a continuation.

By Adrienne P

Mar 14, 2019

This was an excellent workshop to help me brush up on poetic forms. Actually having to write, and revise was more useful than simply studying.

By Eyal G

Aug 19, 2015

Great teacher and great content BUT I just wish that it would have been more abundant with information. it seemed for times maybe too short.

By Vernon G

Sep 18, 2015

Early days yet but I've seen enough to realise it is interesting, intense, funny, persuasive, stimulating and creative. Thank you Douglas.

By Guillemette A

Sep 14, 2015

Very nice course, with interesting material, taught in a witty and engaging manner, and pretty good prompts. I had a very nice experience!

By Valeria L

May 19, 2020

A great workshop to learn the basis of poetry and to start writing and sharing your poems. The clases are fun and the people really kind

By Ta-Tanisha I

Oct 4, 2021

Would have been more beneficial if there were instructor review instead of the review from peers that just responded n/a to everything.

By Katya F

Oct 12, 2015

Loved the short but sharp classes! Thank you! Would love to see more peer reviews (didn't get any on my poems yet).

Best of luck!


By Ryan S

Apr 27, 2020

Liked the way Doug made poetry accessible and fun to write. His enthusiasm and knowledge really made the course worth sticking with.

By Lucia B

May 18, 2021

It was a really nice experience.

The teacher is awesome.

The only thing is that my certificate is written in Chinese characters.

By Kajol

Oct 18, 2015

Peer reviews can be a gamble. But the professor is excellent. Helpful to get started with poetry or get over writer's block.

By Kuma B

Apr 28, 2020

Really helpful to take class, but the reviews from some students were not always accurate and it got mixed up sometimes.

By Aastha M

Jul 11, 2016

i find this course highly helpful to learn new aspects of poetry, embrace new thoughts and new ideas to write upon.