I meant to note that Monday's first class went well. The first class usually isn't too bad -- there's a lot of just getting to know each other, setting the parameters for the class. We did do some real work too.
We started with an exercise where I had them divide up a page into three columns (sexy, neutral, repulsive), and then put as many sex terms as I could think of into the columns. We then discussed how varied our responses were, and how varied readers' responses would be, and how a writer might negotiate that. (One option, with fiction, is to think about what language a particular character might use -- if she consistently thinks of her vagina as 'down there', then perhaps that's the phrase you want to use in your story.)
They also read a few poems out of On a Bed of Rice, discussed the use of language in them, wrote a few scraps of poems themselves. I was pleased that people were able to write poetry, just like that -- it always surprises me a bit when that happens. And also pleased that some were willing to read it aloud. In the first poem, I made them try to use words from each of the three columns they'd set up. In the second, I had them go through the poetry we'd read, highlighting the language they found sensual which wasn't actually explicit, and then try to write, using some of those words.
I'm pleased with what we got accomplished; I think we set up some good groundwork for what comes next. We'll see.