Advanced Poetry: Drafting as Creative Practice

Advanced Poetry: Drafting as Creative Practice

Who: Ron Pretty
Saturday 9 September, 10am-4pm
Cost: Full Price:
$180; Member: $125; Conc Member: $110
Level: Emerging and established (not recommended for beginning poets)

Explore ways of developing a first draft into a fully crafted poem. Drafting is sometimes felt to be synonymous with drudgery or copy-editing, but this workshop will demonstrate the creative aspect of the process, opening up possibilities for the poem that the writer hadn’t previously imagined.

Exercises will explore the drafting process as a way to the possibility of a very different poem to that first conceived. Topics to be covered will include all aspects of drafting, such as line breaks; patterns of language, image, music and form; emotional content and how to deal with it; poetry as fiction; voice, tone, point of view and tense. Participants will work through early drafts of their own poems.

Topics to be covered include:

  • Showing, not telling
  • Avoiding abstraction
  • Detail and anecdote
  • Beginnings and endings (Joyce Carey)
  • Line breaks
  • Based on phrases; based on sentences; rhythm and metre; syllable count; unorthodoxies
  • Visual patterning; the concept of organic form
  • The language of poetry
  • Foregrounding
  • Structure
  • Patterns – rhythm, imagery, language, sound
  • Pace
  • Sound qualities of language
  • Voice and point of view
  • Titles
  • Traditional forms – metre and rhyme

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Deeper understanding of the distinctions between creating, drafting and copy-editing
  • Deeper understanding of the range of possibilities that drafting offers
  • Greater familiarity with drafting techniques

Participant Requirements
Participants should bring two poems in early draft form (one copy of each, paper or digital). Various drafting processes will be applied to these poems during the workshop.

About the tutor
Ron Pretty
’s eighth book of poetry, What the Afternoon Knows, was published by Pitt Street Poetry in 2013. The third edition of his Creating Poetry was published by PSP in 2015 and reviewed in Australian Book Review in March 2016. He published 230 books by Australian poets in his 20 years as publisher for Five Islands Press (1987- 2007). He has taught writing in schools, universities and community groups throughout Australia and overseas. He also judged and edited the Taronga Foundation Poetry Prize 2003-2009, and the Ron Pretty Poetry Prize (sponsored by Five Islands Press) in 2014 and again in 2016.


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