Former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins illuminates and demystifies the fundamentals of poetry, showing how anyone can take pleasure in reading and writing poems.
A downloadable workbook accompanies the class with lesson recaps and supplemental materials.
Learn on your own terms, at your own pace on mobile, desktop, or Apple TV.
Meet your new instructor: Billy Collins, one of the most popular and prolific poets of our time. In your first lesson, Billy introduces the many pleasures of poetry and illuminates how poetry connects you to the history of the human heart.
Billy teaches you how to use form to win the love of your readers, an audience of strangers.
In poetry, you can do anything and go anywhere. Learn how to embrace the freedom of poetry to embark on explorations of subject, progression, and the balance of clarity and mystery.
Billy teaches practical exercises that will galvanize your writing process.
Billy shares his personal notebooks and gives rare insight into the process of writing his poem “Grand Central.”
A poem is not a cookbook. Learn how embracing nuance and ambiguity can be your greatest ally when reading poetry.
Billy invites acclaimed poet and friend Marie Howe to read and discuss Emily Dickinson’s “I felt a Funeral, in my Brain.” Learn how Dickinson’s creative use of capitalization builds an entire world out of a state of mind.
Billy and Marie discuss how the speaker in William Shakespeare’s “Sonnet 73” uses metaphor to bid a final farewell to his beloved.
Learn the tools beyond rhyme and meter that Billy utilizes to achieve a musical, toe-tapping kind of joy in his poetry.
Billy is a self-proclaimed “terrible rhymer.” Learn one of his techniques for capturing a reader’s attention without relying on rhymed or metered poetry.
Billy teaches you how to harness the imaginative flexibility of a poem, turning it in new directions to be playful with your reader.
Learn how what began as a letter to her brother became one of Marie’s most acclaimed poems with “What the Living Do.”
Billy and Marie unpack how Billy’s poem “The Death of the Hat” moves from being a poem about a hat to an elegy for his father.
Your voice lies on the shelves of the library and the bookstore. Learn how reading the work of other poets will help develop your unique persona.
Learn how to develop a distinctive persona for yourself, solving most issues around writing poetry.
Billy shares how humor is an essential part of his persona and teaches you how to use humor in your poetry for serious reasons.
Learn how spacing and word repetition create tone in student Sarah Iqbal’s poem “My (Muslim) Father Seizes the Thing on My Nightstand.”
Billy and student Paul Epland discuss point of view in “The Crash.” Learn how Billy’s suggestion to add three words helps with the turn in the poem.
According to Marie, “so much of writing is getting beyond the will.” Billy and Marie share practical exercises they use to get out of their heads and into their writing.
Billy invites you to join the club of poets who have been writing since the beginning of time.