How to Make Poems: Form and Technique
The introduction to reading and writing poetry is my favorite class to teach. Most students enter the course with fear and apprehension. Understandably so! Poetry is not an easy terrain to navigate. I absolutely love being a guide for newcomers entering the land of poetry for perhaps the first time. Most people are already familiar with the basic moves poetry makes, because they’ve been listening to song lyrics their whole lives. That’s where the course begins, with what we already know about the pleasures of rhythm, sound, pattern, repetition, surprise and story.
In my new textbook, I present a course in poetry for anyone who is interested in learning the basics of how to read a poem, and how to go about building a poem. This is a fun and friendly book, jam-packed with my 35+ years of experience teaching, reading, and writing poetry.
The Practice of Creative Writing
I wanted to create a textbook that presents students with a friendly, accessible way to approach creativity and writing. Free from lofty literary terms, The Practice of Creative Writing is a practical toolbox for writers at any level.
Seeking to support invention and freedom, I wrote The Practice of Creative Writing so students could learn writing strategies (rather than genres). I love these words from Ocean Vuong, excerpted from The Paris Review interview: "I’m not sure a genre is a destination so much as a way of thinking, a tendency of inquiry. When we think of tables, we think of staying there, of keeping our place cards, our seats. I’m not interested in possession. I want to be freer than that. Maybe I’m being naive, but I understand genres to be as fluid as genders. Our lives are full of restrictions—jobs, bills, time, gravity, all of this impinging on us—but to write is to gift yourself the freedom of choice and possibility. That feels truly precious to me."
I’ve always believed that the principles of good writing apply to every genre and I designed the book to teach those five basic principles—imagery, energy, tension, pattern, and insight.
"I simply don't know of a better introductory creative writing textbook, period." —Jeff Newberry, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College
"The Practice of Creative Writing stands out as an inspiring, engaging, and useful text for beginning creative writers. Heather Sellers manages to introduce core concepts and literary techniques with an emphasis on practice that is integral to building a multi-genre course without being overly prescriptive. Instructors can choose from a variety of contemporary literature selections and provide students with the models, writing prompts, and exercises that help them grow as creative writers." — Dr. Kathleen McCoy, Adirondack CC, Queensbury
"This is my fifth year teaching an introduction to creative writing course with The Practice of Creative Writing, and it's simply great. The students love it, and they love the course (and I love teaching it). I pair your book with Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird—and they work so well together.
Your book has helped me change over from a traditional literary scholar to a teacher of creative writing. And it's also encouraged me to start writing both poetry and fiction myself." — Dr. John Van Rys, Redeemer University, Canada
Page after Page
I wrote Page After Page as an invitation to writing. I was struggling to maintain an artistic life in academia, and also working to create a classroom environment that is generative, positive, thoughtful, lively, and accessible to people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Short chapters, friendly prompts. Welcome to your writing life.
Chapter after Chapter
Chapter After Chapter is for writers seeking to create a novel or longer work. I offer lessons and practices that can help an author sustain focus and keep the faith.