This class examines the way spiritual practice and the life of the mind (often one in the same) play themselves out in poems as old as the Song of Songs and as contemporary as the work we are doing today. Participants will do a close reading of the Song of Songs and consider what makes that poem so timeless. Guest speakers may visit to talk about their own journeys and practices.
This workshop poses the question, “What are the structural elements that make for a good poem?” The writing of workshop participants will be looked at alongside works by writers like Robert Hayden, Lorine Niedecker, Allen Ginsberg and Frank O’Hara. Poems will be excavated for patterns of sounds, meter, word etymologies, images and symbols, and students will write a few poems in the style of their favorite writers.
This course engages the poetic and formal scope and limits of the chapbook-length poem or poem series. Through readings and examples, each participant will write a single chapbook-length book. The workshop will also cover some production techniques so that students leave the class with a book as well as ideas for more.
This workshop is for serious poets who are looking for different ways to refresh their vision and expand their writing; who want to make poems that are ambitious, thoughtful and innovative; and who want to see how best to use poetry’s basics from stanza forms to rhyme to free verse in writing poems that will be bolder and larger in expression.
Participants of this class will discuss how to see into “the deep heart’s core” of a poem and how to refine that core sentiment and sensibility by heightening attention to images, tropes, diction, syntax, line breaks and other musical features of the language. Poems from literary magazines will be examined for specific technical issues, but students’ poems will be the inspiriting focus and force of workshop discussion. Writing exercises that steer the poem toward new strategies and discoveries will be considered.
Daniel Swift, the author of Bomber County: The Poetry of a Lost Pilot's War and a professor of English at Skidmore College, examines poems written in response to the bombing campaigns of World War II and contemplates the role of poetry as a means of moral witnessing and historical testimony. Texts include the poetry of Dylan Thomas, Louis MacNeice, Randall Jarrell and John Ciardi, as well as extracts from the diaries of Virginia Woolf.
National Book Award–winning poet Gerald Stern— described as “a postnuclear, multicultural Whitman for the millennium” (Kate
Daniels)—reads from his just-published Early Collected Poems 1965–1992 and discusses his work with Ross Gay, the author of the poetry collection Against Which.
In this panel, three young poet-scholars investigate the intersection of research and poetic practice, including Perez’s interest in ethnography & poetry, Reyes’s practice of rewriting/retelling Filipino mythology and Lee’s exploration of geography, psychology and the textuality of nations (focusing specifically on the United States and North and South Korea).
In conjunction with the publication of Radical Poetics and Secular Jewish Culture (edited by Stephen Paul Miller and Daniel Morris), this panel surveys the work of Jewish poets writing within the American modernist lineage, exploring fragmented identities, irony, skepticism and belief in a tradition that questions rather than answers.
Jerome Rothenberg, poet and editor of the Poems for the Millennium series, reads from and analyzes the work of Romantics and Post-Romantics such as Blake, Shelley, Hölderlin, Hugo, Whitman, Dickinson and Rimbaud, as well as poems by contemporary poets.
The talk also covers work outside of conventional literature, such as sound and nonsense poems, visual poems, outsider poems and more.