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This summer I participated in LouAnn Muhm’s online class Writing About Art. Eight of us wrote poems based on or prompted by artwork: photographs, paintings, sculptures, music, other writing, and environmental art. We wrote one poem per week, and some of us wrote two poems on some of the weeks.

LouAnn Muhm, a poet and teacher from northern Minnesota, has published work in several literary journals: Dust & Fire, The Talking Stick, North Coast Review, Alba, Red River Review, Eclectica, Poems Niederngasse, and CALYX. Her full-length poetry collection Breaking the Glass (published in 2008 by Loonfeather Press) is among my favorite books.

Besides having great credentials and depth of experience in writing poetry, LouAnn is an outstanding instructor. She encourages writers by identifying specific words, phrases, and lines that work well, and she gently points out other parts to revise to make their poems even better. Her feedback is insightful and spot on.

I liked the Writing about Art class and the experience of writing with other poets, so much that I’m registered for LouAnn’s next online class Writing the Short Poem. It starts on September 16th. Maybe you’d like to join the class as well. Here’s the course description:

Have you been told that your poems read like prose, or that “maybe that poem would work better as a short story”? Do you have trouble deciding what to cut from your rough drafts? One of the characteristics that makes poetry poetic is the compression of language. In this class, we will read and discuss a variety of short poems, practice cutting extraneous language from poems (by others and by you), and think about what kinds of language can (should?) almost always be cut. We will work with your drafts, old and new, and generate new poems with an emphasis on compression and concision. We will explore a variety of short forms as well as concise free verse.

If you want to register for the class, go to The Loft Literary Center website: https://www.loft.org/classes/detail/?loft_product_id=36009. And if you’re not interested in writing poetry, The Loft has several other online classes for fiction, creative nonfiction, plays, etc.

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