A Magical Clockwork
Lessons in Writing
the Poem

~ An Online Course

Are you a writer serious about honing your poetic craft?
Lessons in Writing the Poem is the self-directed course
designed especially for you.


From many years of writing, coaching, teaching classes, and giving workshops, Canadian poet Susan Ioannou has expanded and completely refashioned her resources for writers who want to learn over the Web.

All lessons can be done from your home or other Internet connection. There are no deadlines (and no exams) for completing the course. Throughout, you progress at the pace most comfortable and convenient for you.

Each of the 20 lessons leads through a different element of good writing. Links to specific Canadian poems online illustrate every teaching point. As well, the course textbook, Susan Ioannou's critically praised A Magical Clockwork: The Art of Writing the Poem, takes you through key topics in further detail, from a different angle.

For putting theory into practice, every lesson includes creative exercises. Here you can turn the concepts you've learned into finished poems.

The lessons give you theory and writing challenges in the form of a structured and thorough sequential course. Some writers prefer to progress on their own. However, if additionally you would like feedback on your writing exercises, when you enrol in the course you receive information about several professional editors (not part of Wordwrights Canada) who are willing to work with serious writers across the country. Through this extra option, you can arrange for their services as your own private writing coach, at an additional fee per page, or per hour (varying by editor). Choose the one(s) you would like to send all, or some, of your exercises, or just a single poem, for a constructive response. This option is purposely flexible, to best suit your individual needs. Note that as poetry demands intensive skill with language, professional editing fees will reflect that high degree of expertise.

To read what graduates of the earlier, print version of the course say, click Poets' Comments.

Lessons in Writing the Poem is structured as follows.


Course Textbook
Getting Started
Links to Editors
  • Professionals willing to provide feedback on your poetry
    for an additional fee per page or per hour.

First Steps

  1. Careful Observation
  2. Precision
  3. The Essential Poem
  4. Loosening Up
  5. Simile and Basic Metaphor


  1. Concentrated Metaphor
  2. Extended Metaphor
  3. Symbolism
  4. Personification, Synecdoche, and Metonymy
  5. Point of View


  1. Sound
  2. Rhyme
  3. Metre
  4. Rhythm
  5. Line Breaks



  1. Structure
  2. Sequence
  3. Pattern

Overview of Lessons 1 to 18

Going Public

  1. The Business of Writing
  2. Afterward


Fees may be paid in four instalments ($50 for Part 1, including Registration and Book, and $25.00 for each of Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4), or the full tuition in one advance sum of $100.00 (a $25.00 saving overall). To sign up for the first instalment, or for the full course, or to Buy the Book Only, choose one of the options below.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: The instructional content of Lessons in Writing the Poem (ISBN 0-920835-20-1) is Copyright © 2014 by Susan Ioannou (Wordwrights Canada). By enrolling in the course, you are entitled to save and print the lesson material for the purpose of your own individual, private study. However, additional reproduction of the material by any means electronic, digital, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise is not legal under the Canadian Copyright Act without the express written permission of the author. Susan Ioannou is a member of Access Copyright, The Canadian Copyright Licensing Agency.

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Updated June 2015
Copyright © 2015 Susan Ioannou (Wordwrights Canada)

E-mail wordwrightsAsympatico.ca