The Poet’s Metamorphosis: From Page to Stage to Screen

Course Dates: July 13 to July 26, 2015
Application Deadline: May 15, 2015   The deadline for this class has been extended to July 5.

  • Under the guidance of a faculty of internationally recognized poets, students will write and perform their own poetry and learn to reflect and revise based on the critiques of both the writing on the page and its vocal articulation on the stage of public recitation. This class will magnify each student’s capacity to write original poems in dialogue with a community of master poets.
  • Improve your understanding of the line of poetry as its basic unit of composition.
  • Gain greater flexibility in varying the form of your poems to match the content.
  • Strengthen your ability to self-critique your public presentations.
  • Reinforce and expand you poetics of performance.
  • Absorb the suggestions of master-poets about methods to improve your individual voice.
  • Learn how to create the illusion of having memorized your writing for performance.
  • Redouble the impact of your writing on your audiences at public presentations.
  • This course will culminate in a public presentation of student work.

undergraduate: CRWR 421/3 units
graduate: CRWR 621/3 units


Any person with a substantial interest in writing poetry can apply to this class. Successful applicants will most likely have already taken at least one upper division college course in writing poetry as well as a course in which the history and study of poetry is the primary topic. The quality of the portfolio will be the main determinant in selecting applicants. Students enrolled in MFA classes are especially encouraged to apply.

1)     Submit no fewer than five pages and no more than ten pages of poetry, 12-point type, New Roman. It is recommended that you also submit a one page statement of poetics, in which you discuss the poets you read and study on your own initiative.
2)      Upload the materials listed in step one when you complete your Online Registration Form by May 15, 2015.

Professor Bill Mohr


Marilyn Nelson is the author of more than 24 books, including several award-winning books for young adults and translated works. Her latest publication is Faster Than Light: New and Selected Poems, 1996-2011. In 2012, Marilyn was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in poetry. She is a National Book Award finalist and a Los Angeles Times Book Award finalist. Other honors include two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship, and a fellowship from the Guggenheim Foundation. She is a former Poet Laureate of the State of Connecticut and a professor emerita of English at the University of Connecticut. Her books include The Cachoeira Tales, and Other Poems; The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems, which was a finalist for the 1998 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize, the 1997 National Book Award, and the PEN Winship Award; Magnificat; The Homeplace, which won the 1992 Annisfield-Wolf Award and was a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award; Mama’s Promises; and For the Body. She has also published collections of verse for children, including Sweethearts of Rhythm: The Story of the Greatest All-Girl Swing Band in the World; The Freedom Business: Including A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa; The Cat Walked through the Casserole and Other Poems for Children, with Pamela Espeland; and Halfdan Rasmussen’s Hundreds of Hens and Other Poems for Children, which she translated from Danish with Pamela Espeland. In 2013, Marilyn was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

Juan Felipe
Newly-named United States Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Senegal Taxi; Half of the World in Light: New and Selected Poems, a recipient of the PEN/Beyond Margins Award; 187 Reasons Mexicanos Can’t Cross The Border: Undocuments 1971–2007; and Crashboomlove, a novel in verse, which received the Americas Award. Half of the World in Light also won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 2008 and was selected as a notable book of the year by the New York Times. In 2012, Juan Felipe was named California’s Poet Laureate. He has won the Hungry Mind Award of Distinction, the Focal Award, two Latino Hall of Fame Poetry Awards, and a PEN West Poetry Award. His honors include the UC Berkeley Regent’s Fellowship as well as two creative writing fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Stanford Chicano Fellows. He has also received several grants from the California Arts Council. His children’s book, The Upside Down Boy, was adapted into a musical. His books for children and young adults have won several awards, including Calling the Doves, which won the Ezra Jack Keats Award. Other books of prose for children include: SkateFate, and Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box, which tells the tragedy of 9/11 through the eyes of a young Puerto Rican girl. Juan Felipe Herrera received his MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 1990. After serving as chair of the Chicano and Latin American Studies Department at CSU Fresno, he joined the Creative Writing Department at University of California, Riverside, as the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair. He also became director of the Art and Barbara Culver Center for the Arts, a new multimedia space in downtown Riverside.

Cecilia Woloch is the author of six collections of poems, most recently Carpathia, which was a finalist for the Milton Kessler Award, and Tzigane, le poème Gitan, the French translation of her second book, Tsigan: The Gypsy Poem. Tsigan has also been adapted for multi-media performances in the United States and Europe, and is currently being translated into Polish. Her novella, Sur la Route, a finalist for the Colony Collapse Prize, is forthcoming from Quale Press in 2015. Other books of poems include Late and Narcissus. Her honors include The Indiana Review Prize for Poetry, The New Ohio Review Prize for Poetry, the Scott Russell Sanders Prize for Creative Nonfiction, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, CEC/ArtsLink International, Chateau de la Napoule Foundation, the Center for International Theatre Development and many others. Her poetry has been included in numerous anthologies, such as An Introduction to the Prose Poem, Best American Erotic Poems: From 1800 to the Present, and 180 More: Extraordinary Poems for Every Day. Former United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser has included her work in his syndicated newspaper column, American Life in Poetry. Cecilia’s poetry has been published in such journals as The Mississippi Review, Nimrod, Tin House, The New Ohio Review, New Letters, The Chattahoochee Review, and New Southerner. She has collaborated with painter John Weber and choreographer Anna Leo. The founding director of the Paris Poetry Workshop and Summer Poetry in Idyllwild, Cecilia has also taught at the University of Southern California and Western Connecticut State University. She is based in Los Angeles.

Ellen Bass’s most recent book of poetry, Like a Beggar, was published in April 2014 by Copper Canyon Press. Her previous books include The Human Line, named a Notable Book by the San Francisco Chronicle, and Mules of Love, which won the Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the groundbreaking No More Masks! An Anthology of Poems by Women. Her poems have appeared in hundreds of journals and anthologies, including The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The American Poetry Review, The New Republic, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and The Sun. She was awarded the Elliston Book Award for Poetry from the University of Cincinnati, Nimrod/Hardman’s Pablo Neruda Prize, The Missouri Review’s Larry Levis Award, the Greensboro Poetry Prize, the New Letters Poetry Prize, the Chautauqua Poetry Prize, a Pushcart Prize, and a fellowship from the California Arts Council. She currently is teaching in the low residency MFA program at Pacific University in Oregon and has been teaching Writing About Our Lives workshops since 1974 in Santa Cruz, California. Ellen has also written works of nonfiction, including, with Laura Davis, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse and Beginning to Heal: A First Book for Men and Women Who Were Sexually Abused as Children. With Kate Kaufman, she wrote Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Youth – and Their Allies.

Poet/performer/librettist Douglas Kearney’s second, full-length collection of poetry, The Black Automaton, was Catherine Wagner’s selection for the National Poetry Series. Red Hen Press published Douglas’ third collection, Patter, in March 2014. He has received fellowships at Cave Canem, Idyllwild, and others. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Poetry, nocturnes, Pleiades, Callaloo, Fence, LA Review of Books, The Iowa Review, and The Ninth Letter. His produced operas include Sucktion, Mordake, and Crescent City. His poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South, Spoken Word Revolution Redux, Dark Matter: Reading the Bones, and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Art & Literature. His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a Pushcart nomination, and commissions for new work from Minneapolis’s Weisman Art Museum and New York’s Studio Museum. In 2007, he was named a Notable New American Poet by the Poetry Society of America. Douglas has also received fellowships and scholarships from Idyllwild Summer Arts Poetry Workshop, Cave Canem, the Callaloo Creative Writing Workshops, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He teaches at CalArts, where he received his MFA in Writing.

Rod Bradley
Rod Bradley was educated at the University of North Dakota and Dartmouth College before majoring in film studies at Boston University and UCLA. He has two published novels, TV Man and Gunplay, and most recently a book of poems, Waltzing Under the Buddha’s Smile. A limited edition of his photographs titled W. Washington was just published. He has worked extensively in various capacities as a filmmaker primarily in the documentary world, most notably as a writer and cameraman on the Smithsonian World series, for which he won an Emmy in 1987. As producer-director his filmography includes Visit to the Lena Rose, Painting the Blues, Painting the Wild, and boy & dog (a narrative feature). He is currently at work on a feature documentary on the life and work of the artist Kim Abeles ( He lives in south Los Angeles where he has resided for the past two decades and continues to write with camera in hand.


Bill Mohr, Course Coordinator –
Bill Mohr’s poems, prose poems and creative prose have appeared in dozens of magazines in the past 40 years, including 5 AM, Antioch Review, Beyond Baroque, Blue Collar Review, Blue Mesa Review, Caliban (On-line), ONTHEBUS, OR, Santa Monica Review, Sonora Review, Spot, Upstreet, and ZYZZYVA. Individual collections of his poetry include Hidden Proofs and Bittersweet Kaleidoscope. In 2015 Bonobes Editores in Mexico has proposed to publish a bilingual volume of his poems, translated into Spanish by José Luis Rico and Robin Myers. His writing has been featured in over a dozen anthologies, including one of American poets translated into Japanese. In 1993, New Alliance Records released his spoken word collection, Vehemence. His highly praised account of West Coast poetry, Holdouts: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992, was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2011. Bill has a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, San Diego and is currently an Associate Professor at California State University, Long Beach. Prior to embarking on an academic career, Mohr dedicated himself to working as a small press activist based in Los Angeles County. In addition to publishing landmark collections of Los Angeles poets such as The Streets Inside and Poetry Loves Poetry in 1985, he also brought out books by poets such as Alicia Ostriker, Jim Krusoe, Holly Prado, Kate Braverman, Jim Moore, Harry Northup, Joseph Hansen, and Leland Hickman. In 1997 he was a Visiting Scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles. He has given featured poetry readings at a multitude of venues, including the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s in New York City, the Poetry Center at San Francisco State University, the Idyllwild Poetry Festival, and Beyond Baroque Literary Arts Center in Venice, California.