Poetry Website Offers Formerly Private Online Poetry Workshops to Public

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The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative (poetrycoop.com) will provide year-round online poetry workshops taught by leading contemporary authors Amy King, Maureen Alsop, Melissa Studdard, Steven Teref, and more. During National Poetry Month, a 10% discount is offered on all workshops.

The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative: Workshops that work.
Our online poetry workshops provide 24/7 access to the classroom from anywhere there’s an internet connection and a device to receive it.

The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative (poetrycoop.com) is pleased to offer its formerly private online poetry workshops to the public. The site will provide continuous month-long poetry workshops on a wide range of themes, taught by leading and bestselling contemporary authors Amy King, Maureen Alsop, Melissa Studdard, Steven Teref, and more. During April, National Poetry Month, a 10% discount will be offered on all workshops.

Online poetry workshops offered in 2012 swing from the practical (“Writing a Poetic Sequence” and “Rattling the Cage: Forms and Repetition”) to the experimental (“Poet’s Theater” and “Poetry of the 6th Dimension”). Workshops on ekphrastic, persona, and prose poems, the fairy tale poem, science and poetry, and nuclear poetics are also among the offerings “in its clutch,” according to founder and artistic director Lissa Kiernan.

Since its inception in 2007, the site’s poetry workshops were a closely-kept secret; available only by word-of-mouth and to contributors of Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal, where Kiernan moonlights as poetry editor. A Brooklyn-based poet and a web developer by trade, she decided to take the site public last year when, after graduating from Stonecoast's low-residency MFA program, she and far-flung classmates began to lament the loss of their poetry community and the lack of post-graduate continuing education options.

She noted: “While there are ample opportunities to take poetry workshops in cities with universities or literary arts centers, many people have no access to poetry education nor a locus for reliable feedback from trusted readers. Our online poetry workshops provide 24/7 access to the classroom from anywhere there’s an internet connection and a device to receive it.” The site has also been re-engineered from a simple phpBB bulletin board to the more powerful and design-friendly open-source Drupal platform, she added.

The Rooster Moans' workshops last four weeks, with lessons and poems posted and critiqued weekly in a password-protected space. Posting lessons in weekly increments, Kiernan said, allows the concepts to sink in as the poets work on generating their poems. While targeted to those with intermediate-to-advanced experience, the cooperative welcomes beginners and writers from other genres, too.

“We subscribe to the seven guiding principles of cooperatives: education and training, choice, voice, and non-discrimination, to name a few,” Kiernan explained. “And for those considering an MFA program, particularly low- or no-residency ones, our workshops are a great way to test the waters. The University of Texas at El Paso, for example, now offers an MFA program that is fully online. The Chicago School of Poetics offers online workshops, too, though they use a web conferencing format, while ours are asynchronous.”

Asynchronous learning is a format that uses online resources to facilitate a global network of information-sharing, as well as emphasizing the importance of peer-to-peer feedback. "Behind our tagline 'workshops that work' is the belief that our workshops our effective, but also the belief that all poets need good readers. Often the best way to train your eye to see your own work critically is to help another poet see their poem with fresh eyes,” Kiernan advised. Asynchronous learning also fosters cross-cultural communication, bypassing the constraints of time and space, and has a positive effect on the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of its community, she added.

Teaching artists include a MacArthur Scholar, MFA and environmental ethics professors, award-winning poets, literary journal editors, a bestselling novelist, a nationally acclaimed slam poet, and two poetry bordello performers. Teachers in 2012 include Chris Crittenden, Joshua Davis, Brenda Mann Hammack, Alexandra van de Kamp, Sara Tracey, Karrie Waarala, and Susan Yount, in addition to Alsop, Kiernan, King, Studdard and Teref.

Quoting a line from Jim Harrison’s poem “Rooster” in explanation of the cooperative’s memorable name, Kiernan quipped “Isn't the worthless rooster the poet's bird brother?” She added “The poet, like the rooster, urges everyone to wake up, bear witness, and be alive.”

The Rooster Moans Poetry Cooperative provides MFA-caliber online poetry workshops that promote, foster and inspire the reading and writing of poetry by (a) facilitating a cross-cultural network of information-sharing on the art of poetry, (b) providing an asynchronous education setting in which teaching artists and students exchange ideas and information at the convenience of their own schedules, from their own homes, reducing their impact on the environment, (c) encouraging peer-to-peer feedback amongst members, and (d) helping develop the voices of underserved poets by offering several free workshops each year.

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