Student-Originated Studies: Nature Poetry

Fall 2017
Evening and Weekend
Class Size: 10
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

Suzanne Simons square
poetry and literary arts, community studies/Middle East studies, journalism

"Recognition of the connectivity with worlds beyond the human is revealed as a necessity of spiritual and physical survival," writes Camille Dungy, editor of the anthology Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry." Using the natural world as framework, this writing and reading intensive eight-credit SOS will explore the complex relationships between humans and the natural world, including how nature sculpts and shapes us and our communities, and how we influence the natural world.

Activities will include writing and critique workshops of student work, seminars on works of notable poets from diverse backgrounds, field trips to community poetry events, including Cascadia Poetry Festival in Tacoma, and Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. As heavy emphasis will be placed on the poetic craft of writing, a willingness by students to have their poetry critiqued and to make substantive revisions to their work is essential for growth as poets. Specific topics may include vulnerability in poetry, nature and the imagination, plump stories and muscular language, intention, intuition and the poetic process, poetic story arcs, and publishing.

Final projects may include small group or individual chapbooks of student poetry, a formal reading from the work, and individual submission of at least one poem for publication in a literary journal or other publication. By the end of the SOS, students should have the tools to deepen their practice of the craft of poetry and apply their enhanced skills of observation and writing to their chosen fields of study and career goals. This SOS is suitable for all levels of poets, from the curious to dabblers to advanced practitioners.

Our first meeting will be as scheduled, 5:30 – 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27. At that time, we will decide as a group how often and when we are going to meet.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Education, writing, communication, government, ecology, nonprofits, the arts.


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 
Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$20 fee to cover entrance to two community poetry events - Cascadia Poetry Festival in Tacoma and Olympia Old Growth Poetry Network.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 10

Scheduled for: Evening and Weekend

Advertised schedule:

Our first meeting will be as scheduled, 5:30 – 9 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27. At that time, we will decide as a group how often and when we are going to meet

Located in: Olympia