The Poetry Project


The Function of (Inherited) Form – Workshop with Cyree Jarelle Johnson

Inherited poetic forms, defined here as metered and/or structured verse with rules passed to the modern poets by long-dead bards, can be intimidating and fraught. In this five week introduction to formal verse, we will familiarize ourselves with the many uses of form, and interrogate the trajectory of poetic formalism.

We will do close readings of classic poems in inherited forms, as well as modern poets writing sonnets, villanelles, pantoums, and sestinas. We will also interrogate how and why formal verse survived in the presence of free verse.

This course is designed with poets new to poetic formalism in mind, but all are encouraged to join us!

This workshop is now full. To be added to the waitlist, email Laura at