January 21

12:00 p.m to 6:30 p.m. ET

Program Cost:


About The Program

Don't Relax! 13 Ways to Create Tension in Poetry

Tension is the essence of change and the cornerstone of persuasion. For writers, the premier mission is to captivate the reader's interest from the very first word, leading them through a transformative journey, even if it's subtle. But how do we keep a reader's gaze glued to our work?

Join esteemed poet Ellen Bass in this 6.5-hour online poetry masterclass hosted by The Rowe Center. Delve into 13 strategies to infuse your poetry with a tension that's palpable and authentic. Drawing from an eclectic mix of poets and prose writers, Ellen will illuminate specific techniques that make a poem riveting and unforgettable.

In this immersive experience:

  • Study exemplary poems handpicked by Ellen to understand the dynamics of tension.
  • Discover the nuances of the craft that can help your poetry echo life's genuine complexities.
  • Generate new poems guided by these practices and, if you wish, refine an existing piece.

Ellen's guidance promises not just transformation for your writing but also for you as a poet. As your verses become more deliberate, courageous, and conscious, they pave the way for your readers to experience a profound transformation as well.

Come with an open heart, and expect to leave with poetry that stands as your most authentic, brave, and masterfully crafted work to date.

Meet the Presenter

Ellen Bass

Ellen Bass

Ellen Bass is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her most recent book of poetry, Indigo, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2020. Previous books include Like a Beggar, a finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize The Publishers Triangle Award, The Milt Kessler Poetry Award, The Lambda Literary Award, and the Northern California Book Award; The Human Line; and Mules of Love, which won The Lambda Literary Award. Bass has also written works of nonfiction, including, with Laura Davis, The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse, which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into twelve languages. The New Yorker has published ten of Bass’ poems throughout the years, and two have been chosen for The New Yorker podcast. In 2021, Bass was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in Poetry. She teaches in the MFA program at Pacific University and lives in Santa Cruz, California.