On April 24, 1916, Irish poets, actors, teachers, and citizens armed themselves and took control of key locations throughout Dublin, then under British rule. This rebellion, known as the Easter Rising, set in motion a war for independence, a civil war, the partition of Ireland, and, ultimately, the creation of the Irish Free State. It also reinforced the connection between poetry, politics, and possibility still present in Ireland today.
How do poets and other artists begin to articulate loss, outrage and grief on a grand scale, distilling universal connections that transcend customs and belief systems? This class is an overview of poetry that responds to public tragedy: we will discuss approaches, ethical considerations and craft choices poets make when responding to various kinds of events (acts of war, gun violence, police brutality, natural disaster, etc.) through art.
“Theory is not inherently healing, liberatory, or revolutionary. It fulfills this function only when we ask that it do so and direct our theorizing to this end….the possession of a term does not bring a process or practice into being.” – bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress
Joseph Stanton, a widely published poet who happens also to be an art historian, offers a workshop that will go beyond ekphrasis to encourage the writing of poems in response to any and all forms of artistic experience. Participants will be provided approaches to use when writing poems in response to witnessings and/or participations in such forms as paintings, movies, fairy tales, plays, and sports events. Poetry as a means of inquiry will be the emphasis throughout.
This workshop begins with a forty-five minute work session where we will make small cardboard looms, take bits of thread and fabric, and make page-sized weavings. No textile arts experience is necessary. Without theorizing, we'll then move right into a writing session where we will transfer this sense of play and "in-expertise" to the blank page. Of course the connection between "to write" and "to weave" is present in the word "text," so we will be building on that ancient association.
In this class we will practice engaging with architecture and social spaces that comprise our idea of home through a series of interrelated exercises. We will focus on various concepts of residence—and what kind of living takes place in them. While one definition of home includes space for the body, another definition might indicate space for the mind. How we reveal our intimate understanding of place is always a risk, because in showing others the shape of where we feel most welcome, we are also inviting them in.