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How to Read a Poem

with Jeanine Walker

Genres: Poetry, The Writing Life, Reading, Writing for Performance

In Person

Open to all levels

1 Session

Start Date: July 20, 2024
End Date: July 20, 2024
Day of Week: Saturday
Time: 1:10pm - 4:10pm PT
Capacity: 15 seats
Member Price: $102.60
General Price: $114.00

In stock

“Reading our own work out loud is a huge part of revision. We need to hear how our poems sound. I often record myself reading a poem, then listen to it as if I've never heard it before: I can easily hear, then, what needs to be changed. Reading aloud to ourselves also prepares us to read aloud to other people; this class covers both topics.” – Jeanine Walker, Hugo House instructor and author of The Two of Them Might Outlast Me (2022) 

Poetry is a sonic art best experienced aloud. This class will look at examples of nuanced readings by contemporary poets, including Natasha Trethewey, Laura Da', and Li-Young Lee, in a study of where and why poets place emphasis. Recognizing the power of sound and rhythm is an essential aspect of both reading and revision. You will experience the poems you see on the page more fully and understand how to bring new life to your own work, whether voicing it in solitude for the purpose of revising or reading in a public forum. "How to Read a Poem" will include a revision exercise, vocal coaching, and an invitation to share one poem aloud at the end of the class. 

You’ll leave this class with a better ear for sonic patterns in poetry and confidence in the best way to read your poems aloud. You'll also be invited to read your poem at a special Hugo House reading on Tuesday, July 23.

Bring a poem to class that you would like to revise and read aloud. 

This class includes:  

  • Craft Discussion: teachers and students explore essential elements of the craft. 

Students say… 

“Jeanine is an extraordinarily articulate and caring teacher who models for everyone an open supportive posture toward poems and poets.” 

“Jeanine Walker is a gifted, talented teacher. She is organized, knowledgeable, knows how to manage time, creative. I've rarely if ever had a better poetry teacher.” 

Registration Dates:

  • June 4: Member registration opens at 10:30 am PT 
  • June 11: General registration opens at 10:30 am PT
  • June 18: Last day of Early Bird discount
Jeanine Walker

Jeanine Walker

she/her

Jeanine Walker is the author of The Two of Them Might Outlast Me (2022). She has received writing fellowships from Artist Trust, the Jack Straw Cultural Center, Wonju, UNESCO City of Literature, and Inprint. Her work has appeared in Bennington Review, New Ohio Review, Pleiades, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. A poet with a Ph.D. in creative writing from the University of Houston, Jeanine is a long-time poetry teacher and most recently taught English at Kangwon National University in Chuncheon, South Korea.

Describe your teaching style.

Positive, fun, and generous, I love to make my students feel welcome and let them know it's important to me that they're there.

Each class description includes a breakdown of what you can expect in terms of in-class activity, feedback, and homework (if any). 

Generative means you’ll be generating new writing, either in class or at home between classes.

Workshop means you’ll be sharing work to be read and critiqued by your instructor and classmates and that you will also be critiquing the work of your peers. 

Reading means you’ll be doing close reading of a work with an eye toward craft. 

Craft discussion means you’ll be looking at the tools writers use to do that thing they do so well and then trying it out yourself.

Class levels are designed for various stages of the writing journey. Simply self-select the level that sounds best for where you’re at. 

Introductory: This is your first creative writing workshop, first writing class since high school, or first foray into a new genre or form. You’re looking to try something new, kickstart your writing, and/or establish yourself in the fundamentals.

Intermediate: You have a strong understanding of writing fundamentals and are eager to deep dive into craft. You’re honing your writerly identity and voice through independent projects. In workshop, you look for constructive feedback and are ready to do writing and reading outside of class.

Advanced: You’ve written a significant body of work and have taken it through several stages of revision. You’re getting ready to publish or are in the early stage of publishing, and you’re interested in refining the skills that will take you to the next level in the literary industry.

All Levels: You are any of the above and are looking to play with new possibilities.

You’ll get your class information, including Zoom link if applicable, three days before the first day of class.

Write With Hugo House is our free monthly write-in program, operated in partnership with the Seattle Public Library. Two take place onsite at SPL locations, one takes place online. 

Sliding-scale classes are offered every quarter. Find them in our Class Catalog.

We announce flash sales, early bird periods, and special deals through our e-newsletter; sign up at the bottom of this page.

At this time, we offer payment plans on classes 8 sessions and up. Email education@hugohouse.org with the name of the class you’re interested in to set up a payment plan.

Asynchronous classes are perfect for students that need flexibility!

During an asynchronous class, instructors release new lessons once per week. Students then have one week to complete that lesson and any accompanying coursework. You’ll learn as much as you would in a traditional class but with the flexibility to work at the best times for your schedule!

While there are no live sessions, asynchronous classes are still a lively and rigorous experience. Async classes are not static lessons but an adaptable and energetic community space. Be ready to work in a collaborative environment, giving and receiving feedback on your writing, participating in discussions, and growing your writing practice in a way that works best for you.

Asynchronous classes take place through the website Wet Ink. Students receive an invitation to the class and to set up a Wet Ink account on the start date of the class. Each week of the class, a new lesson will be available through the Wet Ink portal. Classes close two weeks after the end date, and students receive an email containing their content from the class when it closes.

Hugo House will only process refund requests that are submitted 5 business days or more before the class start date. To request a refund, log in to your account, go to “My Account,” select the “Orders” tab on the left-hand side, click the appropriate order, and request a refund for your specific class. Administrative fees apply. Please see our full refund policy here.

In general, we do not record classes. However, an exception if a student has specific access needs.

We encourage students to only sign up for classes that fit with their schedule.   

We do not tolerate racist, sexist, homophobic, ableist, transphobic or any other oppressive behaviors, regardless of who commits them. Please check out our full community guidelines by clicking here. If an instance of community guidelines are violated and not resolved within the classroom, students may let us know by filling out the student incident report.

If Hugo House needs to cancel a class for any reason, you’ll receive a full refund.

Hugo House members get to register early for classes – a full week before they open to the general public!, receive a 10% discount on events and classes, and more. See the full list of membership benefits here!

Donations of all sizes allow us to provide access to quality writing classes, events, and experiences for all. Please consider making a donation to Hugo House today.

If you’re interested in contributing your skills, Hugo House accepts volunteer applications for a variety of roles, including event support, administrative tasks, and more. Learn more on our Volunteer page.

Learn about all the ways to support Hugo House here.

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