MasterClass Billy Collins Reading and Writing Poetry Class Review

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MasterClass provides in-depth and engaging classes taught by experts in various fields. The classes are designed to bring your favorite experts to your home in an engaging online experience, which includes state of the art pre-recorded videos, workbooks, and stimulating assignments. Your yearly Annual Membership gives you access to 80+ world-renowned instructors on Film and TV, Culinary Arts, Design, Photography, Fashion, Sports, Science and Technology and so much more. Instructors include world-famous chef Gordon Ramsay, bestselling author Margaret Atwood and many more. The classes have about 20 lectures, each about 10 minutes so you can watch and re-watch at anytime. Video lessons can easily be watched on the MasterClass mobile app, on your desktop, Google Chromecast, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Roku devices.

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This is a review of the Billy Collins Teaches Reading and Writing Poetry class from MasterClass!

The MasterClass Instructor – Billy Collins

Billy Collins opens this class with a beautiful outline of what poetry brings to the world. He says, “Poetry is the history of the human heart”. He talks about how throughout history we see numerous works of poetry that are all speaking the same language. They all express human emotions that are see throughout history, including love, heartbreak, loss, loneliness, adventure, and joy.

For those who are not familiar with Billy Collins, he is a world-renowned poet who has held numerous distinguished positions including the United States Poet Laureate and New York State Laureate. He has published twelve collections and two chapbooks, including New York Times bestseller, Aimless Love: New and Selected Poems.

Billy Collins is an American phenomenon. No poet since Robert Frost has managed to combine high critical acclaim with such broad popular appeal. His work has appeared in a variety of periodicals including the New Yorker, the Paris Review, and the American Scholar.

This class discusses both reading and writing poetry. Billy begins by talking about the form and structure of a poem and how to discover the subject. He later talks more in-depth about how to work with a form with regards to sound, rhythm, and visual aspects of a poem. Billy also shares his personal writing process, how to begin to create your own process, how to connect with poetry as a reader, and how to find your own voice as a writer. Throughout these lessons, the class uses a lecture style along with numerous class discussions with other authors and students to provide different learning styles and plenty of examples.

Reading and Writing Poetry – Who is it for?

You don’t have to be a child prodigy, you can be a middle-aged prodigy.

This class is for anyone who is interested in strengthening their poetry skills! This class focuses on how to write poetry so it is especially useful for anyone looking to get great insights to help improve their own writing or even start a career as a poet. But the class also looks at how to read and better understand poetry, so if you are just looking to be more informed and improve your ability to connect with what you are reading, this class has some great foundational lessons.

MasterClass Billy Collins – Main Themes

  • Emotion
  • Discovery
  • The unfamiliar
  • Find your voice
  • Inspiration

MasterClass Workbook – Billy Collins

The workbook for this class will be your key to fine tuning your poetry skills. The workbook is designed to be a set of writing and reading exercises to perform after watching each lesson. Each chapter has about 2-3 writing exercises and a reading exercise that cover a variety of topics including free writing, focusing on form, and analyzing your own poems for certain techniques like metaphors, form, and subject. The workbook also contains a suggested reading list and an appendix of poems that are referenced in the class or are just suggested readings.

MasterClass Reading and Writing Poetry Key Takeaways

Billy Collins has created a detailed and inspirational class that really goes through the foundations of understanding and writing poetry. The class uses a variety of teaching techniques, including student and other poet discussions about many famous poems, along with great exercises that focus on the writing process and being able to analyze one’s own work. The class talks a lot about form, which includes the physical structure of the poem, the rhythm, the metaphoric association, and how a poem travels from the familiar to the unfamiliar.

Your voice has an external source. It does not lie within in you… It lies on the shelves of the library, and the shelves of the bookstore. Your voice is in the voices of other poets.

What I found really beneficial in this class was the poetry readings with poet Marie Howe. She and Billy Collins both read and talk about a variety of poems in order to demonstrate particular aspects of form talked about in previous lessons. During these readings and discussions, the viewer gets to see the poem on the screen while it is being read aloud, but what is so beneficial about this, is the viewer sees the marked-up version of the poem allowing viewers to see what Marie or Billy have underlined or what notes they may have made while reading.

Final Thoughts on Billy Collin’s MasterClass

I found this class very detailed and thought-provoking! Billy Collins has created a class that focuses on a variety of aspects of form and creativity to create this well-rounded class on reading and writing poetry. If you are looking for a class that will bring your poetry writing to the next level, this is the class for you!

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