Institute for faith, culture, and creativity

A Distinctive Approach to Writing

Through the ages, people learned to write under the guidance of a mentor who was versed in the great literature of the world and had themselves made significant progress in mastering the craft of writing.

In the modern world, serious writers often pursue a degree in letters or fine arts to get their training.

However, many M.F.A. programs have become much more competitive and rather expensive (about $30k-$60k), so many writers have chosen to explore suitable alternatives.

For example, some join one of the myriad, and less-expensive, online courses. But these courses tend to focus more on marketing, blogging, and building an email list than the craft and philosophy of writing.

Others opt to take the journey alone, read lots of books, put in their 10,000 hours of practice–and hope for a break along the way.

Unfortunately, when these alternatives fall short of providing the best guidance, writers become discouraged and give up on their dream.

Even worse, some writers, gambling with hard-earned money and valuable time, fall prey to one of the online hacks that promise a published book or a writing career to anyone willing to pay for their “proven system.”

If you are serious about the craft of writing, you don’t have to break the bank or gamble on your dream of shaping the world with your words.

Poiema offers reasonably priced writing and Great Books courses to anyone wanting to hone their writing skills and cultivate the life of the mind so they can participate in the great conversation and influence generations with their words.

Whoever would make of himself a distinctive individual must be keen to perceive what he is not. 

– Friedrich Schleiermacher

Poiema is an online community of creative professionals who value the intersect of faith, culture, and creativity. Our focus is to teach writers to think wisely and thinkers to write eloquently about the human experience through a sustained engagement in the Great Conversation.

Though one does not have to be a Christian to study at Poiema, faith is central to our community, and we teach from the perspective that every individual is eternally significant, humanity has been created in the image of divinity, and creative work can be a meaningful way of exploring and conceptualizing transcendent mystery.

To be clear, the aim of Poiema is not to cultivate writers of sanitized literature, “Christian” fiction, or sectarian dogma. The aim of Poiema is to help writers of all backgrounds and traditions think through and write about the important perennial human questions (i.e., truth, goodness, beauty, liberty, equality, justice, faith, the soul, redemption, wealth, language, family, friendship, etc.).

In other words, Poiema does not exist to instruct writers and creatives on what to think, but on how to think wisely and write eloquently about the worlds they create, the topics they explore, and the issues they address.

Art, in sworn opposition to chaos, discovers by its process what it can say. That’s art’s morality.

-John Gardner

Also, our courses are not courses in self-publishing, internet marketing, or platform building strategies. While we believe these aspects are important, there are a number of outstanding courses already teaching them, and their emphasis is outside the scope of our mission.

We focus on the time-honored disciplines of classical writing and humane letters. It’s the approach that cultivated writers like Dante, Milton, and Shakespeare; Lewis, Tolkien, and Chesterton; and Eliot, O’Connor, and Robinson.

Further, Poiema courses are not automated, DIY video courses leaving you to work through prefabricated content alone. Our courses are highly engaging and dynamic, consisting of reading, writing, and socratic discussions with a live tutor.

Our structure allows writers to work both synchronously and asynchronously, and our approach is to help writers learn both the philosophy and the craft of writing.

Stated simply, at Poiema our mission is to do more than teach the craft of writing. We want to teach writers how to cultivate the life of the mind so they can enrich the well from which they draw their inspiration.