what i would like to talk about really is a subject that probably doesn't have a name
--David Antin, from "Talking at Pomona"
This course explores the rich, expansive dynamics of the modern/contemporary "talk poem," a hybrid literary form that draws from poetry, philosophy, comedy, criticism & storytelling (among others), & which, at the level of genre, interrogates the boundaries between poem, essay & speech. Students will be composing and performing their own talk poems over the course of the semester in response to the variety of sources we'll be reading/listening to/watching and discussing for & in class, & will participate at the close of the term in a final performance of their work (to which they are encouraged to invite friends & family) in front of a live audience. Students will also write one 8-10 page essay, with the option to experiment across various hybrid essay forms (ex. dialogue, interview, essay-film, radio-play, etc.) in consultation with the instructor. Some key writers/ thinkers/ performers we'll be engaging with include: Homer, Plato, The Hebrew Prophets, Lucretius, John Milton, Reb Nachman of Breslov, William Wordsworth, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Gertrude Stein, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Avoth Yeshurun, Lenny Bruce, Amiri Baraka, Hannah Weiner, David Antin, Charles Bernstein, Nathaniel Mackey, Jena Osman, Bob Perelman, Alexander Skidan, Juliana Spahr, & Kristen Gallagher, among others. Class sessions will be divided between communal discussion, student performance, student workshop, and paired text-study. No prior literary writing/talking experience required.