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Poetry I

with Elline Lipkin in Pasadena


Elline Lipkin

7:30 to 9:30 pm
October 30, 2021 to December 18, 2021

Through original creative work, revision, reading, and discussion, this eight-week workshop will focus on making poems that are driven by a keen attention to language, image, and sound. As we engage with each other’s work and the weekly readings, we’ll explore the ways poetry can recover more complex imaginative and perceptive possibilities. We'll discuss how to find the "white heat" of a poem and revise drafts to coax out the central idea lurking within the work. As poet Mark Doty wisely asserts: “Our metaphors go on ahead of us; they know before we do.” We will be putting Doty’s assertion to the test with an emphasis on generative writing exercises that lead us into surprising and productive creative spaces.

This class is open to students at all levels and will take place in Pasadena, where wine, sparkling water, and the occasional gourmet snack will be served.


Students welcome to join in week two.
Enrollment limit: 8 students
$420 new; $380 returning
(Payment plans available for returning students.)

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Elline Lipkin is a scholar and poet who has edited for a variety of newspapers, magazines, and journals. Her collection of poetry The Errant Thread was chosen by Eavan Boland for the Kore Press First Book Award.  Her second book, Girls’ Studies, explores contemporary girlhood in America and was published by Seal Press.  She holds an MFA in Poetry from Columbia University and a Ph.D. in Creative Writing and Literature.  She is widely published as a poet and her nonfiction writing has appeared in Salon.com, Ms., and other contemporary sources.  A former resident at Yaddo, the Virginia Center for the Contemporary Arts, and Dorland, Elline has been a speaker at the Napa Valley Writers Conference and the Writer-in-Residence at the Paper & Book Intensive.  Elline has taught creative writing to students of all ages and was until recently the Poet Laureate of Altadena. 


“Elline Lipkin was a kind, generous, and encouraging teacher with a wealth of knowledge about poetry. She created a workshop environment where each student could bring their voice to the table, no matter how different our poetic styles were. She thoughtfully considered everyone’s comments during discussions, had helpful recommendations about our work, and was very responsive to requests to talk about our poetry outside of class. It was a pleasure to spend my evenings with Elline and our workshop group!” —Claire Cronin

"Elline Lipkin‘s workshop is as good as—if not better than—the workshops and craft classes I had during my poetry MFA.” —Kevin Giberson

“I’ve attended two consecutive WWLA poetry classes taught by Elline Lipkin and I will return again. Elline is a wonderfully knowledgeable teacher and working poet. She brings fresh content to each class and presents a curriculum designed to stretch her students’ skills. Additionally, and very importantly, Elline is a great champion of her students’ work.” —Merna Skinner

“Elline Lipkin‘s teaching approach is well balanced. We spent about equal time examining a wealth of poetry from an eclectic variety of noted poets, and the poetry of fellow class members. We studied a broad range of poetry types and styles, making sure to spend sufficient time on the more difficult aspects in order to dig deep enough to gain a more thorough understanding. Her criticism is gentle and supportive, but also very enlightening in helping each poet develop his strengths and eliminate his weaknesses. Having the class in someone’s home also added to the experience. It was very fun and informal and I believe helped everyone to be more open with their poetry and critiques.” —David Slavin