Mark Wunderlich

Undergraduate Discipline


Graduate Program

MFA Writing Program

Mark Wunderlich is the author of three books of poems, the most recent of which is The Earth Avails, published by Graywolf Press in 2014.  His other books include Voluntary Servitude (Graywolf, 2004) and The Anchorage (UMass Press 1999), which received the Lambda Literary Award.  He has received fellowships from the NEA, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Amy Lowell Trust and the Civatelli Ranieri Foundation, and was both a Wallace Stegner Fellow and a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University.  He has taught at Stanford and Barnard College, and in the graduate writing programs at Sarah Lawrence, San Francisco State University and Columbia University.  He currently teaches writing at literature at Bennington College, and is a member of the Core Faculty of the Bennington Writing Seminars.  He lives in Catskill, New York. SLC, 2014-  

Current undergraduate courses

Reading and Writing Poetry: Style, Tone, Technique


In this poetry workshop, students will undertake a number of exercises designed to expand their range of poetry writing skills. We will examine the various components of poetry writing—tone, style, meter, sound effects, subject matter, voice, point of view, etc.—and write poems that aim to create specific effects by employing specific techniques. We will also read from and write critically about a broad and eclectic mix of contemporary poets with an eye toward imitation and homage. The course will be run as a workshop in which you will discuss and critique the work of your peers, though we will also discuss at length the work that we read together.


Previous courses

Poetry Workshop

All good poems simultaneously do at least two things: 1) they innovate and create a sense of surprise for the reader, and 2) they position themselves in relation to the tradition of the art. In this workshop, we will look at the ways in which poets can “make it new,” while also understanding the functions of the line, sound, syllabics, patterns, stanzas, and rhymes, both subtle and overt. While not a traditional prosody course, the parts of poems and the techniques available to poets will be a central part of our weekly discussions. We will also ask what function poems have, how they work, why we read them, and what urges us to write them. Students will assemble an individual reading list for the term, which we will discuss during conferences in addition to our conversations about individual poems.