Specializing in courses focused on the writing of poetry, creative nonfiction, and blogs, Heather M. F. Lyke has been teaching creative writing since 2004.
P a s t C l a s s e s
The Narrative Poem as Mini-Memoir
Loft Literary Center
It’s a common misconception that poems tend to be nonfiction: readers often assuming the narrator and the authors are one and the same. That said, there is a reason this misconception exists: as poets, we do often plant ourselves alongside the roots of our pieces. The truth is, poetry can, and often does, exist in the space that exists between nonfiction and fiction: in this course, we embrace that dichotomy.
During this generative class, we’ll use poetry to convey stories rooted in our own personal experiences. Embracing our individual histories as fodder for new works, we’ll brainstorm what stories currently exist within us; dig into narrative poetry structures and trends; explore exemplars that were built on truth—from Sharon Olds to Taylor Mali, from Tina Chang to Eileen Myles; and draft some new poems of our own. By the end of this session, participants will walk away with a strong understanding of the narrative poetry style, a wide variety of prompts to assist with memoir-based poems, at least three newly generated poems, and a deeper understanding of how poetry can exist within the paradox that what starts in truth can become fiction.
New Forms, New Poems
Loft Literary Center
Even the most seasoned writers can get stuck: stuck with where to begin, stuck exploring similar themes, or stuck utilizing the same style. Whether you’re stuck, or simply looking for something new to inspire you, we’ll spend this half-day together exploring various styles of poetry that are each rooted in the art of others (visual art, along with the writing of others). Honing in on ekphratics, found, and headline poetry—each a form inspired by the visual/written artworks of others—we’ll explore aspects of poems by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Jean Prokott, Salvation Burnette, and Austin Kleon (among others); generate new poems; and share some of what we create. By the end of our session together, participants will have at least three newly drafted poems and fodder for many more future works.
Processing Through Poetry
Loft Literary Center
This past year and a half has not been shy of emotion-filled opportunities that many need time and opportunity to process. Poetry can be a great tool for turning emotions into art; meanwhile, it’s also benefiting our emotional wellbeing. In our time together during this generative class, we’ll take some time to use poetry as an emotional outlet and write through some of our struggles of the past using purposeful prompts. We’ll also explore a few exemplar works—from Jean Prokott to Danez Smith, from Andrea Gibson to Tina Chang—as way to guide our paths. Additionally, we’ll explore the how and why behind why writing, in many ways, can be an ‘affordable therapist’. Finally, we’ll delve into how sharing our words—through publication, performance, or otherwise—can add to the therapeutic elements of the art.
Praise for Lyke's Classes
For "New Forms, New Poems"
"...the teacher was great. She presented the material clearly and there was a nice balance of instruction, writing time and sharing/feedback time."
" I enjoyed the discussion with classmates, the detailed poem set, and teaching plan from Heather. Plus, loved that the poem set was emailed to us ahead of time, along with a introductory note and plan preview, and that the email came directly from Heather herself."
For "The Narrative Poem as Mini-Memoir"
"The example poems Heather shared with us, including one of her own she brought in last-minute to address a topic that came up, were great and illustrated the principles she was sharing with us about poems that also function as memoir. Another highlight: the large amount of discussion, collaboration, and connection with classmates (both large and small group...): not all one-session classes have that. There was minimal lecture and slides, which really worked well for this topic and group: Heather boiled it down to a few key points. They were spot on. And the poem examples we read together helped exemplify those key things."
"The only negative was the large number of writers enrolled! There is a trade-off between prompts and writing time versus group discussion and community-building. While I wanted more prompts and writing time, that would have taken away from our discussion time. Community is so important in writing. Lyke had a great balance of both, especially for such a large class."