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Creative Writing Classes & Seminars

Looking for a place to express your inner writer? In each of our three yearly sessions (winter/spring, summer, and fall), we offer creative writing classes on weekday evenings, weekday mornings, and the daytime on weekends. Classes range from those geared for novice writers or those with some writing experience who are looking for a structured environment in which to bloom to those geared for intermediate, advanced, or professional writers.

We offer classes for adults as well as pre-teen and teen writers. Genres and topics offered include a variety of creative writing classes in poetry, fiction, flash fiction, memoir and creative nonfiction, screenwriting, playwriting, storytelling, comic books and graphic novels, songwriting, food writing, science fiction, fantasy, children’s book writing, journaling, and multi-genre writing, as well as seminars in writers craft, research, and professional development.

Class size is usually capped at 8 or 9 students—classes with different maximum sizes are indicated in the class listing. We teach short seminars that meet once all the way to longer workshops that meet up to eight times.

Class at The Muse

Search our classes by genre, level, and time of day below.

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February 2021

The Poem as Museum of Discovery and Surprise

What do you do after you learn that an orca whale mourned her dead calf for 17 days before letting it go; or that in the wild, gorillas make up little songs to themselves as they eat? What do you do when you learn there is a whole museum dedicated to hairballs; or that the family operating Doumar’s Drive-through in Norfolk thought up the waffle cone, which made its debut in the 1904 World’s Fair where humans from other cultures…

Sundays, February 7 - February 28 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

4 sessions
Teacher: Luisa A. Igloria

Writing the Light in a Dark Time

In this workshop we will explore the theme of light—indeed a timely topic in times like these—and how it manifests itself in human experience: the light of nature, of science and Spirit, art and human personality. Light in all these manifestations is understood by its contrasting darkness, like the gold and the shadows in Beowulf. As novelist and poet Ursula Le Guin put it simply, “When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.” The poetry we consider here—that…

Saturdays, February 13 - March 6 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

4 sessions
Teacher: Suzanne Rhodes

No Knowledge of Shakespeare Required

In 1972 the Globe Playhouse Trust commissioned 13 poets to write poems for, to or about Shakespeare for a pamphlet titled Poems for Shakespeare.   In this class, we are going to imagine ourselves as one of these 13 poets! On the first day of class, I will ask each of you to present an occasional poem celebrating Shakespeare. This might take the form of a limerick, or it may take the more serious form of an Elegy, or it may…

Saturdays, February 13 - March 6 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

4 sessions
Teacher: Steven Blythe

The Advanced Poetry Workshop

The Advanced Poetry Workshop is an expansion of the principles and techniques learned in the Poetry Workshop. It is open to students who have completed previous workshop-level classes at The Muse or those who have extensive workshop or graduate-level experience. This class focuses on writing, criticism, and the exploration of contemporary poetic discourse. Students at this level are writing poetry with an increased focus on creating an individual voice and emotional richness. Students will be expected to submit regularly and…

Mondays, February 15 - April 26 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

6 sessions
Teacher: Noah Renn

The Poetry Studio

The studio continues: Members of the group will actively write and revise original poetry, with a special emphasis on the careful review of members' work, the examination of the literary and commercial marketplace, and the submission of work for publication. Work will be submitted in advance of each meeting. All poems submitted will be critiqued during that meeting. After registration, attendees will be sent a separate email with payment instructions. Please note: This class is an online class. To participate,…

Tuesdays, February 16 - May 18 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

4 sessions

The Poetry Workshop

The Poetry Workshop continues with returning members, new members from Introduction to poetry Writing, and new members with poetry writing experience. .Members of the group will actively write and revise original poems, focusing on elements of craft and analyzing select poems by our best poets that effectively model those elements. All group members will have the opportunity to submit material for the workshop. Your instructor will make every effort to tailor the submission schedule to your individual goals. Please note:…

Wednesdays, February 17 - April 28 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

6 sessions
Teacher: Suzanne Rhodes

March 2021

The Shorter Poem: Sure as a Karate Chop

  It is easy to underestimate the complexity and resonance of shorter poems. In reading and writing haikus, tankas, sonnets and anything in between, we find that the discipline required to make it happen in a short poem simply intensifies our moment-to-moment engagement with poems of any length. In this workshop led by National Book Award Nominee and former Virginia Poet Laureate, Tim Seibles, we will read and discuss various short poems by established authors and, from this, we will…

Saturdays, March 13 - March 14 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

2 sessions
Teacher: Tim Seibles

Poetry 1

Whether you’re brand new to poetry or just need a refresher on the craft of writing poems, this class will focus on the fundamentals of what makes a great poem. With a strong emphasis on how to read a poem as a writer, this class mixes both traditional and formal poetry with modern contemporary examples and covers the basics of form and language. This class will help you build your toolbox of literary devices to begin crafting poems on your…

Mondays, March 15 - April 19 @ 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm

6 sessions
Teacher: Kindra McDonald

Walk on the Wild Side

Why is mystical poetry so often lacking in mysticism? Why is literature of the sacred so often tepid, or even a drag? In this course, suitable for anyone, we will look at and plunder poetic passages from works by the Rolling Stones, Little Richard, the Doors, Blondie, the Clash, Simone Weil, the Go-Go’s, Bob Dylan, Smokey Robinson, Dante, Sappho, Ann Carson, Robert Pinsky, Francois Villon, and Lou Reed. Others will elbow their way in, too, including but not limited to…

Saturdays, March 20 - April 10 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

4 sessions
Teacher: Tom Yuill

Shape Shifting: Persona Poems and Shifting Voice

Let your poems run wild as you experiment with persona. We will get out of our own heads, put on the mask of persona and inhabit the voice of another through our poems. Whether you are working with historical subjects, fantasy characters, or even inanimate objects, we will look at capturing the authenticity of that speaker and allow a level of freedom, play and experimentation to your work. We will explore masters of the persona poem such as Ai, Cornelius…

Sundays, March 21 - April 18 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

4 sessions
Teacher: Kindra McDonald

April 2021

Poetry of Self-Compassion

English poet, David Whyte, describes self-compassion as a form of faith, a way in which to converse with the world, and as poets, we can only best perform this act with innocent eyes. In this class, we will attempt to do just that. We will grant ourselves permission to wonder again, to gaze at the world freshly, to recognize our innate curiosities as our own spiritual journeys and to return to those curiosities with sacred ferocity. And in turn, hopefully,…

April 17 @ 10:00 am - 12:30 pm

Teacher: Amanda Gomez

The Image-Repertoire: Solving the Enigma of Desire (Second Session Added!)

In this workshop we will read love poems, poems of longing, poems about the love for one’s hometown and other objects of affection, and we will generate a series of prompts that we can use during and after the workshop to further reveal and develop our associative image-repertoires of desire. In the straight-talk of poetry craft, the image system is a set of images used throughout a poem or larger work that belong together in some way. Barthes’ image-repertoire, however,…

April 17 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

Teacher: Joy Priest
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Accessibility for Those with Disabilities

The Muse Writers Center strives to be a fully accessible facility. Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns or would like to request an accommodation.