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How to Write a Villanelle

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“Easy reading is damn hard writing.”
―Nathaniel Hawthorne

In this newsletter:

  • Everything to know about the villanelle poetry form, including how to break the rules.
  • RSVP now for tonight's free reading, with poet and novelist Moriel Rothman-Zecher!
  • Good news from an administrator and a student.
  • Browse our updated course calendar through early November.
  • Join our Facebook group and share your craft with us, and find us on Instagram.

I hope you and yours are happy, healthy, and well.


Starting This Week

Intro to Fiction Writing (October 19)

with Donna Levin | 8 Weeks | $395

What makes a good fiction story? Learn how to write compelling stories in this eight-week intro to fiction course, with Donna Levin.

Short Story

Dread and Desire: Gothic Fiction Techniques to Lure and Horrify Your Readers (October 19)

with Briana McGuckin | 6 Weeks | $330

This Halloween, learn how to write eerie, haunting moods in this comprehensive course on Gothic writing techniques.


How to Firm Up the “Mushy Middle” of Any Story (October 19)

with Jeff Lyons | 5 Weeks | $325

Ensure a strong middle throughline for any story. Say goodbye to the "mushy middle," and hello to stories that work.


Browse full course calendar

Free Reading: Poet and Novelist Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Don't miss our upcoming reading with poet and novelist Moriel Rothman-Zecher, whose new novel, Before All the World, comes out this month.

On October 18th, at 8 PM Eastern, Moriel will be doing a reading from this novel and a Q&A afterwards. Follow the link below to register.

About Moriel Rothman-Zecher

Moriel Rothman-Zecher is the author of the novels Before All the World, which is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux on October 11, 2022, and from Corsair Books / Little, Brown UK in January, 2023; and Sadness Is a White Bird (Atria Books, 2018), for which he received the National Book Foundation’s ‘5 Under 35’ Honor, and which was a finalist for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, the winner of the Ohioana Book Award, a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award, the winner of the Cincinnati Books by the Banks Author Award, and longlisted for the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize.

New Writing Tips

Villanelle Definition: How to Write a Villanelle

The villanelle is a highly formulaic 19-lined poem with 2 repeating refrains.

Read more

Congratulations to...

Our marketing associate Brookes Moody, who had several recent publishing successes. Her poem “Or, The Whale,” in Touchstone Literary Magazine was just nominated for Best of the Net. Brookes' poem “Riven Rock” was a finalist for the Mississippi Review Poetry Prize and is now out in print. Brookes also has 3 poems forthcoming in Crazyhorse.

Rozanne Charbonneau, whose short story "The Train to Modena: Suzanna's Story" was nominated for The Pushcart Prize. Rozanne worked on this story alongside instructor Giulietta Nardone.

Congratulations to Brookes, Rozanne, and Giulietta!

Our Upcoming Courses

Browse full course calendar

October Courses

Writing Mindfulness: Sensual World/Poetry Mind (October 26)

with Marc Olmsted | 4 Weeks | $250

A four-week class, melding the language mind with the sensual: How to turn detailed observation into a poem. With Marc Olmsted.


Telling Your Food Story (October 26)

with Hannah Howard | 4 Weeks | $235

Let's write at the kitchen table together, as we explore using food as a lens to tell our stories.

Personal Essay

The Healing Power of Poetry (October 26)

with Joy Roulier Sawyer | 4 Weeks | $250

Poetry heals. Journey alongside several poets whose works resonate with a variety of healing themes, and learn how to use craft elements as healing tools.


Graphic Novel Writing Bootcamp (October 27)

with Cristian Aluas | Single-Day Webinar | $149

Put pen to graphing paper in this workshop on crafting the graphic novel. By the end of the Zoom call, you'll have an 8 page graphic short story that's ready to illustrate.


Introduction to Writing the Lyric Essay (October 29)

with Derek JG Williams | Single-Day Webinar | $89

The lyric essay challenges us to tell authentic stories without concrete forms. Learn the ropes of the genre in this 3 hour workshop.

Personal Essay

November Courses

Scene Study: Strengthen Your Writing with Compelling Scenes (November 2)

with Susan Pohlman | 5 Weeks | $275

Great stories are constructed with great scenes. Immerse your reader in your stories by learning the ropes of scene development.

Short Story

The Joy of Poetry: A Beginner-Friendly Workshop (November 2)

with Joy Roulier Sawyer | 4 Weeks | $250

Have you wanted to get into poetry, but don't know where to start? Learn the craft from the Joy of poetry herself in this welcoming workshop.


Ordinary to Extraordinary: Turning Everyday Experiences into Poetry (November 2)

with Tina Barry | 4 Weeks | $250

No experience is too small or mundane to serve as a foundation for extraordinary poetry and short fiction.


Make Your Prose Sing (November 2)

with Leslie Lawrence | Single-Day Webinar | $89

Enrich your prose with techniques from poetry. Bring paper and pens; leave with a better ear and lots of ideas about how to make your prose sing.


Manuscript Workshop: Writing For Young Readers (November 2)

with Denise Santomauro | 8 Weeks | $395

Author Denise Santomauro leads this intermediate/advanced workshop on writing for children. It offers support, structure and detailed feedback on manuscripts.


Comics for People Who Can’t Draw! (November 7)

with Aubrey Hirsch | Single-Day Webinar | $89

Comic strip artists rely much more on creativity than on artistic skill. In this workshop, you'll learn all the tools you need to make fun and engaging comic strips—even if your drawing level is "stick figures."

Lifestyle and Wellness

How to Craft a Poem (November 9)

with Zining Mok | 6 Weeks | $330

A poem has many moving parts, from sound and rhythm to form, voice, and figurative language. Weave these elements into richer, fuller poetry.


Creative Writing & Storytelling Techniques For Business Professionals (November 9)

with Giulietta Nardone | 4 Weeks | $245

Good writing helps business connect deeply with the clients they're hoping to work with. Learn how to hone the power of story in your professional career.

Lifestyle and Wellness

Poetic Prose: The Prose Poem (November 9)

with Barbara Henning | 10 Weeks | $460

Explore the border between prose poetry and flash fiction. For writers of fiction, poetry, essay and memoir.


Food Writing: Meals And Manuscripts (November 9)

with Jennifer Billock | 8 Weeks | $395

Do you love cookbooks, cooking, or reading anything about food? This course is for you. With award winning writer Jennifer Billock.

Personal Essay

Browse full course calendar

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