Poetry I – First Steps

Poetry is ordinary language raised to the Nth power. Poetry is boned with ideas, nerved and blooded with emotions, all held together by the delicate, tough skin of words.

Paul Engle

The idea of creating a poem can seem daunting to many people. Poetry is often perceived as being too difficult or is simply dismissed as a past time for the literary elite. FIRST STEPS aims to dispel the myths and give you the ‘know how’ to get you writing poetry.
Essentially for people who are new to poetry writing, it can also be of help to those who have perhaps already been on a course and are looking for some further direction and encouragement.

Like all our courses FIRST STEPS runs for ten weeks in real time - the first week being our orientation week. The nine week poetry writing course proper is a mixture of informative notes and writing exercises and assignments. During these nine weeks you will learn how to use poetic language and forms as well as aspects of rhythm and rhyme. As the course progresses you will be encouraged to find and develop your own poetic voice, using observation, your own life stories and most importantly by learning to see the interesting in the ordinary. By the end of the course you will have crafted a series of poems and poetic responses.

In total there are eight poetry assignments to complete. This may seem a lot, don’t worry! You do as many as you are able given your individual circumstances. There is no right or wrong amount to complete. However, that said, the poetry assignments are an opportunity to put into practice the writing techniques and skills you are studying, and as you get feedback on all work produced (from your colleagues and your tutor), the more poetry assignments you complete the more you will get out of the course.

Our students come from all sorts of backgrounds and countries, and are all ages. What everyone has in common is an enthusiasm for writing poetry.


orientation week Getting to know the FirstClass conferencing programme and your colleagues
week 1 Perceptions of poetry: what makes a poem a poem? First voices and sketches
week 2 Seeing not looking: learning to see the beauty in the everyday. Poetic descriptions
week 3 Every object has a story to tell: still life observational poetry. Using the senses
week 4 Finding your form: an introduction to poetic forms. Playing with rhyme and rhythm
week 5 Painting with words: using the colour word palette. Metaphor and simile
week 6 Seeing through someone else’s eyes: using voice and perspective. Dramatic verse
week 7 Finding your freedom with poetry: using free verse. Finding your own voice
week 8 Drafting and getting it out there: learning to redraft a poem. Polishing and performance
week 9 Becoming a published poet: Poetry Corner




Edinburgh online school of creative writing