Anyone can write free verse – or so the saying goes. Free verse poems are free from limitations of meter, rhythm, or rhyme – all aspects that sometimes cause grief to creative writing students. Most of my students are happy if, for once, they are free to follow their own ideas without having to pay attention to what many perceive as the artificiality of traditional rhymed and metered poetry. However, even free verse poems are not void of artistic expression.
Project seminars are always challenging. Since they involve more work than a traditional seminar, they often attract those types of students who enjoy a good challenge and want to create something lasting. During the summer semester 2020, it was no different. Well, at least during the planning phase. But then Covid-19 hit. Within three weeks, we had to transform our seminar to remote learning. There was much to learn, and the ecocritical project I had envisioned took a major detour into the unknown. Originally, I had planned – as I had done in past semesters – to have students create different projects on campus or in and around Lüneburg, for example guerilla gardening or various installations (for which we often needed the university’s permission). However, during a lock down in which we were only supposed to leave our homes to go to work, the doctor, or the supermarket, I quickly knew that tried-and-true recipes for a successful project seminar would not work. So what could we do?
Well, it wasn’t long after explaining the predicament to my students that they came up with an idea. And a great idea it was.