course guidelines

assessment criteria

it is important that if you have any questions about how your work will be assessed you speak to me as early in the semester as possible. otherwise, it is encouraged that you submit at least a portion of your work as soon as possible to see how it will be assessed in practice. writing is a very subjective form but adherence to styles, use of language and punctuation and the construction of meaningful discourse are basic requirements. there is a wide latitude on what constitutes good writing, whether prose or verse, but striving for beautiful and thoughtful use of language to communicate a coherent message is a foundation for that and in its absence, there is no latitude to reward effort.

you will, throughout the semester, be expected to demonstrate these as basic abilities. beyond this, excellence will be determined by your creative use of language to develop but these are requirements for a passing grade.

  • understanding of convention and form.
  • originality of work.
  • organization of your work, your logic, your language and your subject matter.
  • your use of appropriate form and subject in cooperation.
  • your ability to communicate concrete and abstract concepts both separately and simultaneously.
  • coherent editing and adaptation of your work, including grammatical norms and punctuation which, while possible to modify through the use of poetic license, must be consistent and, if you wish to deviate vastly from these norms, a discussion may be wise in advance.
  • clean, clear and visually-pleasing presentation.

assessment of an ongoing nature will be given as submissions are made and whenever it is requested, in addition. if you are not doing well, you will know this quickly after you make any submission. if you have not received any evaluation, it is because you have not yet submitted any work and this is, if it is more than a few weeks into the term, unadvisable.

to achieve a passing grade requires more than simply presenting poetry that adheres to forms during the time period provided. you must adapt to guidance and participate in the critical process with other students and show significant effort and improvement during the semester as a minimum.

an excellent grade will be awarded to a student who does the above and shows significant progress but, beyond this, demonstrates mastery of various poetic forms and a creative approach to language.

grade descriptions

while marking is somewhat subjective, it is helpful to have a rough guideline as to what is expected of you to achieve the result you desire on each of your submissions. these are only outlines but they should give you a goal to aim for. i do not believe in borderline grades (a-, c+). if i believe a paper is good enough not to be a c, it will be a b. if it has not reached the level required for an a, it will also be a b. this may sound harsh but, especially coupled with my policy of unlimited potential resubmissions to improve your grade, if you have not achieved the grade you are seeking, you will have plenty of opportunity to improve the work and change its grade accordingly. it may be useful to note that i do not grade on a curve or using probability. your fellow students’ submissions have absolutely no impact on your grade and you are no more or less likely to do well in a class of extremely high or low abilities. each level’s description can be assumed to be in addition to the requirements for all lower levels of achievement — an a paper must meet all the requirements of a b paper, for example, in addition to those listed in its particular grade’s description.

a (80-100%)

this is an exceptional submission. it is clear in its purpose and use of language, meeting and surpassing its goals. it is free of grammatical or typographical errors and is presented in a coherent visual style with correct attention to detail. its use of language is sophisticated and appropriate to the level of the course and target audience. while i have absolutely no difficulty in assigning an entire class of submissions an a, these grades are rather rare.

b (70-79%)

this is a submission that meets all requirements and uses original, creative thought in communicating them. it is free of grammatical or typographical errors and is written in a fluid and easy-to-understand manner. it is appropriate to the level of the course and the target audience. this is a submission that does everything that is asked but does not go beyond the requirements.

c (60-69%)

this is a submission that lacks originality or creativity in its use of language and treatment of the subject matter. it attempts to meet the requirements of the assignment but fails to do so completely. to achieve this grade, a complete submission must be present, without notable grammatical or typographical errors but its content does not meet the expectation and you are encouraged to resubmit for a better grade after having consulted with me and revised your work.

d (50-59%)

this grade is where submissions that do not meet basic editing and structural requirements fall. an assignment that is incomplete (while mostly present), that does not answer the given questions or requirements but presents a relatively complete attempt or comprises grammatical or typographical errors that show that the work was not properly presented will receive this grade. it is expected that you will resubmit at least once if this is where your work is resulting and meeting with me is highly recommended to discuss future work and how to improve your grade.

f (1-49%)

a submission that fails to meet the basic requirements of the assignment, ignores the question being asked, contains significant structural errors, misuse of language, large grammatical and typographical errors or is absent an obvious degree of thinking will receive this grade. receiving this grade, i assume you will come to see me to discuss resubmission as soon as possible and assistance will certainly be provided.

u (0%)

a failure to submit or the use of another student’s work or work from sources that are not cited, including the use only of sourced work without any significant portion of the text being the student’s own, will receive a grade of u, unacceptable work, noted as 0%. in addition, plagiarism may be treated more harshly, including an investigation. you may speak to me at your earliest possible opportunity to discuss the problem with your work and look at options for improving it.


you will be given the opportunity to submit feedback in office hours or at the end of the course using the standardized student feedback methods in place in the faculty. if this is not sufficient or if you have any questions, problems or concerns, please contact me privately by email or see me after any of our sessions so we can schedule a meeting to discuss whatever may be on your mind. feedback on your work will be provided promptly and repeatedly on each submission but if there is anything specific you wish to address, i invite you to email.


in accordance with guidelines in the faculty but just as importantly in accordance with participating actively in humanity, it is expected that you will actively treat your fellow students with respect. while i believe strongly in the poet’s right to freedom of expression, this will not be seen under any circumstances as an acceptance of hate speech, racism, sexism, language against those of a different sexuality or gender or anything of this sort. this does not only cover your submissions but your comments during the seminars and workshops.

i have an absolute zero-tolerance policy for disrespect and hate speech and you will be immediately asked to leave if you choose to engage in such behavior. criticism is meant to be constructive and helpful and sometimes this is taken to be harsh or heavy-handed but there is, as we are all aware, a difference between criticism of work and personal attacks on an individual. the former, criticism of work, is part of the course. the latter, personal criticism of any sort, is not to be engaged in either in course or online.

it is not necessary that you agree with another student’s choice of approach to language, their faith, their culture or their adherence to norms. it is, however, necessary that you treat all such behaviors, backgrounds and choices with respect. intentional (or repeated) use of undesirable pronouns or language referring to a group of people by their place of origin, referencing their dress or faith, culture or location, educational status or gender, is wholly unacceptable and will be treated as such.

overall, you are expected to treat others with respect and to assume that such respect will in turn be granted to you. i am certain that we will all appreciate learning and working in a peaceful and respectful environment.


it is expected that you attend and participate fully in these sessions. there will be additional, optional classes that you are encouraged to attend. you are a university student and this is simply part of being in the program. i will not award you marks for showing up and participating but i reserve the right to ask the faculty to reexamine your status in the program if you make a habit of missing class without a valid reason.

i am not cold-hearted or mean about attendance and if you have medical, family or other extenuating circumstances, i will certainly excuse you from class. please let me know of these as quickly as possible, preferably before the class but i am well aware that emergencies happen and you will never be penalized for unavoidable absence. if possible, please complete the weekly requirements during your absence.

while the study of language and its writing is an open and constructive discipline, we do not have the space or time to welcome guests whose presence has not already been cleared. if you wish to bring someone to class, ask me in advance and it is likely that, unless you make a habit of it, i will accept your request. that being said, your friends are not necessarily part of this program and have not paid for the time necessary to review and comment on your work and it would not be fair to take that time away from those who are expected to participate. visitors to our classroom may wish to look seriously into extracurricular offerings in creative writing and i am happy to point you in the right direction.

academic support

the faculty offers academic support and, as a student, you qualify for free assistance. as this is a course in the study of language rather than an objective or scientific discipline, however, it is unlikely that this will be useful to you, as the service is mostly for reading and study skills and writing of traditional papers, none of which are present in this course. if you have questions about time management and participation in online discussions, you may find their assistance useful. if you have difficulty with any of the assignments, however, you are welcome to contact me by email, see me after any of the seminars or workshops or come during office hours and i will be happy to offer you whatever help you request.


as in all academic institutions, plagiarism is harshly prohibited in this course. if you submit work as your own the work of another student or an individual from outside the faculty, an immediate grade of 0 will be assigned and proceedings will be started to reexamine your fitness to continue in the program. all submissions will be processed through the faculty’s standardized plagiarism scanning software to ensure that your work is original. if you have any questions regarding this, please contact me at your convenience.

the frequent question that appears regarding this in this area of study is about the notion of “found poetry”. i will not ask you to submit anything of the sort and doing so will be considered, at least, a lack of completion of the assignment using your own words or, at most, grounds for a plagiarism charge. i would strongly suggest you not engage in such practices.


it is expected that your analysis, when required, will follow a standardized set of referencing guidelines, including footnotes and lists of works cited. it is not prescribed that you use a particular style but it must be plain to see where the work has been found and how to access it and your style must be consistent.

electronic submission

all work is to be submitted electronically. if you wish to submit physical copies of your work, you are welcome to do so in addition to electronic submissions. i encourage you to submit your work as text rather than formatted documents or pdf files so that they may be copied and pasted for easier suggestions and comments in the online forum. work not submitted online will be deemed not submitted. if you do not receive confirmation by email of your submission within 24h, do not assume that it has been received and resend the document.

all work will remain your own property and it is stated in the online forum that the copyright of all work is retained by the original author. i expect all participants to respect this copyright declaration for all posts and submission of work in the public forum for commentary and suggestions.

late submissions

time-sensitive submissions including commentaries and submissions for workshop or seminar evaluation, if requested, are accepted up to and including the time stated in the outline. beyond this, they will not be accepted and you will receive 0% on these assignments. you will be permitted in extenuating circumstances to complete alternative assignments to regain these grades but this is not a given and will not be assumed in all cases.

non-time-sensitive submissions may submitted and resubmitted as frequently as you like up to and including the last day of the course at 23.59. time-sensitive submissions may be resubmitted for reevaluation up to and including this time, also.

there will be no penalty for late submissions as time-sensitive submissions will not be accepted late and work submitted after the last day of the course are not included in your grade. non-submitted work will result in a 0% on that component.

mitigating circumstances

alternative assessments will be provided in certain circumstances for mititating circumstances. this will be determined on a case-by-case basis. please contact me with the details of your situation as soon as possible.


i am happy to offer modified assessments and avenues for participation to those who require it. if you have a reason to request a modified program, please contact me as soon as possible and detail your situation. this has, in the past, been granted on various segments within the creative writing curriculum in my courses including audio versions of submissions, large-print, color-specific printing for certain students to more easily read, moving to more accessible classrooms and the use of specialized technology. this is not an exhaustive list and your individual needs will be taken seriously to create the best possible experience for you in this course.


these classes take place in a publicly-accessible building and, as such, your privacy is not guaranteed. that being said, however, i will do my best to grant what privacy is possible. your personal comments will be delivered to you electronically using the email address that you select, not published publicly. your work will be shared in the online forum but access is restricted only to students in this class and to me, your instructor, at all times.

no student is permitted to share the work of another outside the class either electronically or in print. a breach of this instruction will result in a reevaluation of your place in this program. if you wish to share the work of another, it is expected that you will acquire their permission, in writing, in advance, just as you would for the pre-publication work of any writer.


you have the opportunity to submit your assignments at any time electronically. you also have the opportunity to resubmit these assignments an unlimited (within the time limits) number of times for reevaluation. all students in this course are given the same opportunity but it is up to you to avail of these options. if you select only to submit your work once and at the last minute, you may feel that the system is not being fair to you but this is a result of your having not taken advantage of those opportunities as others will have done. the requirement for submission does not vary by student except in the manner of modified programs and extenuating circumstances. if you feel that this is causing you to receive unfair treatment, please contact me as soon as possible and we will discuss what can be done to provide you the best course experience. it is expected that you will award all other students in this course a similar consideration for their fairness, as has already been mentioned as to respect.


this document was last updated on 2021.3.8 and corresponds to this year’s courses. for earlier information, please get in touch directly as only the most recent version will be displayed here to avoid potential confusion.

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