Poetry possesses the capacity to change the way you and your readers think of the world around you, it can break new grounds for language; turn a blank white sheet of paper into a teeming concert of voices and music.

Now the question is – do you wish to work at crafting images that do more than add furniture to a poem, but create systems of relationships, moods, and even style?.

If yes! Then, you are in the right place!  In this article, we have put together some of the best online poetry classes in 2021 that are great for beginners and advanced learners.

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Inside these free and paid online modules, you will be exposed to rules of form and composition which can make clear the meaning of your words to those who read it. Let us get started!

1. Sharpened Visions: A Poetry Workshop

This poetry craft class is anchored by California Institute of the Arts, an internationally reputed college of the visual and performing arts in the United States. Taught by the award winning Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize and the silver medalist for the California Book Award (Poetry); Douglas Kearney.

Organized into six modules, this exhaustive study consists of foundational themes that rides a beginner to advanced level knowledge of the crafts. By investigating the craft elements, Douglas Kearney in his first online lesson journeys you through the arrangements of language into lines and stanzas.

Week two, he opens your mind to how you can use abstraction and images beyond normal clichés to creating compelling ends that will do more than just adding furniture to your poem, but create systems of relationships, moods, and even style.

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In week three, you will be exposed to metaphor and other formulas of difference. Week four handles exploration of how rhyme leverages patterns of sameness and how you can estrange similarity for compelling poetic effects.

Then, five ushers you to the traditional western concepts of meter as a means to open the door to the discussion on rhythm. Kearney shows you the trick of working the rhythm in such a way that drives your poem towards the affects you desire.

In the last week, revision strategies are taught.  According to Douglas Kearney “When you revise a poem, you are not trying to dull the emotional flash of your first draft. You must, instead, intensify it”. Here, discussions on  the difference between revision and editing, the art of reading your own work critically, and the beauty of drafts is explained.

At Sharpened Visions- A Poetry Workshop, a  purchase course  goes for $49 USD with a commitment to go home with a trusted , shareable certificate while full course with no certificate is entirely free.

2. The Poetry School

Tutored by award-winning poet Stacey Balkum, The Contemporary Ode is an indepth, self-paced workshop that re-imagines the potential, shapes, the power of the ode as a form.

The course are categorized into four modules, this detailed, independent study includes the work of literary icons like Lucille Clifton, Angel Nafis, Kiki Petrosino, Marcus Wicker, Kevin Young, Sharon Olds, and more. By investigating “the craft elements that make a contemporary ode—especially those on unexpected or mundane subjects,” students will acquire the tools relevant to create them.

Each lesson touches on a new technique and educational lesson for using the form and will include prompts for “celebrating objects, creating narratives, reclaiming history, and finding bold new ways to write about the self and body.”

Base on the pattern of this class, students will not receive feedback on their work. Students can enroll and begin the class at any time. The course costs about $99.

3.The Poet’s Toolbox for Readers and Writers- Skillshare

With downloadable resources; class assignments and discussion forum, this 2 ½ hours beginner level class is tutored by award-winning poet and author Gwyneth Box, who has extensive experience in writing professionally as well as for enjoyment.

Here, you will be exposed to course subjects to include poet tools, metre, syllables and stress, Haiku, rhyme, stanzas, and how verse sounds. This online poetry course is hosted by SkillShare. It remains one of the top free online poetry classes in 2021.

4. OpenLearn

OpenLearn is a free learning platform, delivered by The Open University as part of its Royal Charter commitment to support the well-being of the community.  They have a vision to break down barriers to education by reaching millions of learners each year, through free educational resources. Since its launch in 2006, OpenLearn has become an integral part of The Open University, with the site attracting around 95 million visitors.

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With a radical and pioneering approach to access, matching its refusal to place qualifications barriers in front of their own students, it also has gripped a commitment to release and promote free learning content and systems for others.

About poetry classes, OpenLearn has put together expansive ten modules of free online classes, starting with Approaching Poetry which is designed to familiarize students with all forms of poetry. By reading lessons and completing the activities, you can master concepts including rhythm, alliteration and rhyme. You can also explore techniques for comparing poems. A glossary of terms is included as well.

Included on the module is the concept of poetry. Here, exploration of techniques for composing poems, rhyme, rhythm, voice and form are also examined. After reviewing the activities and discussion questions, you would be required to examine sample answers.

5. Open Yale Courses (OYC)

Taught by the poetry editor of The American Scholar; Professor Langdon Hammer is currently the chairman of the Department of English at Yale. Hammer takes you through the body of modern poetry, its characteristic techniques, concerns, and major practitioners. The authors discussed range from Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, to Stevens, Moore, Bishop, and Frost with additional lectures on the poetry of World War One, Imagism, and the Harlem Renaissance. Diverse methods of literary criticism are employed, such as historical, biographical, and gender criticism.

Open Yale Courses (OYC) provides lectures and other materials from selected Yale College courses to the public free of charge via the Internet.

Each course includes a full set of class lectures produced in high-quality video accompanied by such other course materials as syllabi, suggested readings, and problem sets. The lectures are available as downloadable videos, and an audio-only version is also offered. In addition, searchable transcripts of each lecture are provided.

Registration is not required. No course credit, degree, or certificate is available through the Open Yale Courses website.


MitOpenCourseWare is anchored by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), one of the world’s top-rated universities.  According to Dick K.P. Yue, Professor, MIT School of Engineering “The idea is simple: to publish all of our course materials online and make them widely available to everyone.” The US University says it wants MITx to “shatter barriers to education”.

The interactive course is designed to be fully automated, with successful students receiving a certificate. This ground-breaking scheme represents a significant step forward in the use of technology to deliver higher education.

Course description on read poetry, here, you are exposed to formal tools poets use such as—meter, sound, syntax, word-choice, and other properties of language—as well as exploring a range of approaches to reading poetry, from the old (memorization and reading out loud) to the new (digitally enabled visualization and annotation).

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They also will use readings available online via the generosity of the Poetry Foundation and the Academy of American Poets to equip your learning.

7.Beginning Poetry: Listening to Lines at Harvard Extension School

As our world transitions fully to the knowledge economy, Harvard Extension School stands at the forefront of the greatest wave in education—that of open access and active learning. The School is a fully accredited Harvard School. Their degrees and certificates are adorned with the Harvard University insignia. They carry the weight of that lineage.

On the course description, the programmes offer students the opportunity to develop their aptitude and affinity for the practice of poetry. You will have to follow a structured sequence of writing assignments, readings, and exercises aimed at cultivating a sound working knowledge of the fundamental principles of prosody and the evolving possibilities of poetic form. There is a special emphasis on listening to lines and saying poems aloud, in concert with an eclectic assortment of audio archives.

Another principal focus is the verse line through time, as they turn for instruction and inspiration to what the critic Paul Fussell calls the “historical dimension” of poetic meter and poetic form. The collective goal of the course is to create the conditions for reading and writing poems with a stronger sense of technical know-how and expressive conviction as well as a renewed appreciation for why poetry matters.  The course format takes the instructor led pace, and the instructor will be David Barber, MFA Preceptor in Expository Writing, Harvard University.

Tuition: $1920

Course Credit: 4

Enrollment Limit: Limited to 18 students

Current Enrollment: 16

Registration: Open

2 seats left.

8. Master Class By Billy Collins

This online poetry class is anchored by the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Billy Collins, one of America’s most beloved contemporary poets. In his MasterClass, Billy teaches you to appreciate the emotional pull of poetry. “Learn his approach to exploring subjects, incorporating humor, and finding your voice”.

The 20 videos lesson course of three and a half hours  cover the following areas:

  1. The pleasure poetry gives us
  2. Discovering the subject
  3. Writing the process
  4. The writing process
  5. Finding your voice

Subscription for this online lesson goes for $15 per month.

We hope to get your feedback on how these reviews on online poetry classes have helped in narrowing your search for genuine poetry courses.

Thank you.

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