CAS News

Poetry student published in anthology

In Form and Technique of Poetry, CRW 3311, the focus is on learning and practicing writing techniques that help writers create rich, original, evocative poems. Because for many students, this might be the only poetry course they take, the techniques are specifically chosen to support growth and expertise in other genres—going cold, grounded in space and time, turns and pivots, reversals, and of course, metaphor. Students practice in forms—templates or structures—which are sequenced in order of difficulty, and they read examples of each form, rap, sonnet, elegy, etc., by terrific writers, often younger ones, from around the globe. 

At the end of the course, a module on performing and publishing poetry is presented. Undergraduate student writer Deborah Locicero recently published one of her many successful poems from this course, her ode, in poetry anthology “Florida Bards: Gulf Coast Poets, Pinellas County.” We interviewed Locicero about her experience.

What inspired you to write this poem?

We were writing an ode form in class, which can use exalted language about something that is a common part of everyday life. Some examples were odes to a pair of socks and to a watermelon. My poem, “Ode to You - Palmetto Bug,” was about a creature that I think everyone living in Florida has definite feelings about. The strength of our almost universal human reaction to the dreaded night time visitor gave me lots of material for the humorous execution of the form.

In your creative writing classes at USF, what have you learned in terms of reading poetry?

Through the introduction and study of the techniques and core concepts involved in writing poetry, I learned how to better read and understand it. Poems we penned as youngsters most likely centered on our feelings. With study, I discovered that poems are about words. The structures available to us as poets can help us put things into words in ways that can't be done with prose. 

Did you revise this poem from the first draft, on the way to publication?

Because this poem was written for Dr. Sellers' Intro to Poetry class, it was workshopped by the group, and then edited quite a bit prior to turning it in. At that point it felt pretty complete and I did only minor additional editing before I submitted it.

What was it like when you first learned the poem was accepted for publication?

It was exciting! It was the first thing I had ever submitted for publication, so it seemed a good omen.

Anything else you'd like to add about creative writing, or your process?

When I first started taking creative writing courses, I had the end goal of writing a novel in mind. I had lots of ideas and book "starts." As soon as I sat in my first class, I became enthralled with the idea of flash fiction, zines, and multimedia art. Then I took poetry, and writing poetry is a dream. I don't know when I'll get back to writing a novel, I'm having too much fun with everything else!

Filed under:Arts and Sciences English    
Author:Heather Sellers, PhD