Online Courses

SPRING 2018 Online Courses for High School Students

The Iowa Young Writers’ Studio is now offering online courses for high school students! These courses are offered independently of the summer residential program. This Spring, 2018, we will offer three online courses, creative writing, fiction writing and poetry writing. All courses will be taught by graduates of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. The courses will run for six weeks, from January 16 through February 23, 2018. The courses will be asynchronous, meaning that you can do the assignments and participate in the discussions on your own schedule in your free time. Students who complete the course and meet all requirements will receive one college credit from the University of Iowa.

What are these young writers talking about? Hmm…maybe the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio’s online creative writing courses?


A Perusable Feast (with Riley Johnson) is an online creative writing class for high school students. A Perusable Feast is a genre-mashing, experimental writing course aimed at helping you ask yourself the questions: What sort of writer am I? What sort of reading inspires me? and, What are my artistic sensibilities, anyway? In it, you will test the boundaries between fiction, poetry, nonfiction, drama, journalism, and various other sorts of creative writing which, taken together, constitute a vast and intricate wonder-scape just waiting to be explored. John Crowley, in his novel Little Big, envisions a series of nested imaginative realms, each bigger than the one that contains it. In exploring the realms of the written word, we will take Crowley’s model as our own; the farther in you go, the bigger it gets! We will find out how, by working through the nuts and bolts of specific challenges in various kinds of writing, we can gain access to larger ideas about writing in general, ideas that transcend distinctions of “genre” and allow us to make use of our words as tools for thinking, for seeing the world. We will put these tools to use in short, guided writing exercises, which we will discuss, along with published works by established authors, in a conversational online setting. Think of this course as a six-week literary potluck in which you will be both cook and banqueter!

Forget Ready, Forget Set, Go! (with Riley Johnson) is an online fiction writing class for high school students. Over the course of six weeks, you’ll learn about key aspects of fiction writing such as detail and image; voice and point of view; character, story, and plot; setting; and drafting and revision. You’ll do this through a process of creative collaboration (or perhaps collaborative creativity)—each week, you’ll read a short piece by one of your classmates and use it as a springboard for your own writing exercises, while simultaneously using your own writing as a tool for working through and appreciating that of your classmates. You’ll also read and respond to published short stories by exciting contemporary writers. The course takes a playful, generative, process-oriented approach to writing. This means you’ll be doing lots and lots of writing, and that, when you read, you’ll be reading as writers—teasing out what makes great stories work.

Sensory Overload: Poetic Perception and Poetic Technique (with Margaret Reges) is an online poetry writing class for high school students. The course take its cue from the French poet Arthur Rimbaud, who felt that it was the job of the poet to be a seer (a person who is supposed to be able, through supernatural insight, to see what the future holds). “I say one must be a seer, make oneself a seer,” wrote Rimbaud. “The poet makes himself a seer by an immense, long, deliberate derangement of all the senses.” What might it mean to be a seer? And how does one derange the senses? How does one adopt a stance of poetic attention, and how does poetic attention differ from “normal” ways of seeing the world? In this entertaining and mind-altering six-week course, you’ll  be asked to experiment with the way you perceive the world in an attempt to connect with Rimbaud’s notion of poet as seer. You’ll be asked to engage in a number of experiments (e.g. automatic writing, self-hypnosis, guided meditation, lucid dreaming) in order to attempt to derange your perception of the world. In the process, you’ll  learn basic concepts and techniques of poetic craft. No prior poetry writing experience is required, though it certainly can’t hurt. Come to this class with an open mind and leave it with an altered sense of how to perceive the world around you.

PLEASE NOTE: If your application is accepted but the above section of the course you applied for has filled you may be offered a section with a different (but equally awesome!) instructor.


Current high school students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher are eligible to apply for admission to this course.

Students who wish to apply for the online courses must upload the following to Submittable (details below) by October 27, 2017:

  1. A Statement of Purpose (300-500 words) describing why you would like to take the course and what you hope to learn. We’re seeking students who will be enthusiastic and committed to doing the assignments and participating in the discussion forums. The Statement of Purpose should be typed and double-spaced and submitted as either a Microsoft Word or PDF file.
  2. A signed permission form from your parent or guardian. Download blank form here.
  3. A Teacher Statement of Support (250-500 words) from one of your teachers attesting that you will be a good candidate for, and an enthusiastic citizen of, the course. Your teachers can find guidelines here.
  4. An official high school transcript showing a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or higher.


Applications to the Spring 2018 online courses will be accepted via Submittable, an online submissions manager, beginning on September 1, 2017.We will accept application materials until midnight (Central Time) Friday, October 27, 2017. To apply, complete these steps:

STEP 1: Register free at Submittable and enter your basic information. You will be taken to the Iowa Young Writers’ Studio online course application. You will be asked a few more questions and have the opportunity to upload your statement of purpose and signed parental permission form. Please upload your statement of purpose and parental permission form as separate files.

STEP 2: Ask your teacher to upload a Teacher Statement of Support (Microsoft Word read-only document or PDF). If your teacher prefers to upload your statement, he or she can register free at this link and do so. If your teacher uploads your statement, only your teacher will receive a confirmation in Submittable. You, the applicant, will not be able to see your Teacher Statement of Support in your Submittable profile. If you have any doubt as to whether your Teacher Statement of Support has been uploaded, please check with your teacher before contacting the Studio., If absolutely necessary, your teacher can e-mail his or her statement of support to

STEP 3: Have your school upload your official transcript (Microsoft Word read-only document or PDF). If your high school prefers to upload your transcript, they can register free at this link and do so. If your high school uploads your transcript, only your high school will receive a confirmation in Submittable. You, the applicant, will not be able to see your transcript in your Submittable profile. If you have any doubt as to whether your transcript has been uploaded, please check with your high school before contacting the Studio. Your school can e-mail your official transcript to or send us your official transcript by other electronic means (Docufide, Parchment, etc) or by regular mail to: Iowa Young Writers’ Studio, Online Courses, University of Iowa, 305N CC, Iowa City IA 52242.

When your application has been uploaded successfully you will receive a confirmation e-mail from Submittable. Uploaders of letters and transcripts will also receive confirmation e-mails.

You will be notified by e-mail whether or not you have been accepted into the course on December 1, 2017. If accepted, you will then have to complete several final steps to enroll in the course and reserve your spot.

The fee for each online course will be $436.25 , payable in January, 2018.

Please direct all questions about the courses and the application process to or 319-335-4209.