Reading and Writing Poetry
This course welcomes students who have never written poetry, but want to try; as it will those who have not read poetry but want to do so. Writing poetry begins with reading poetry, learning from poets who have come before. Throughout the course, we will address questions such as these: why do you choose to write poetry? why do you read poetry? what does the history of poetry—all the poems we will have read—teach you about the changing cultural values of this craft?
We will analyze a cluster of poems every alternate week, and then workshop poems you will write in response the week after. You will also write a brief note that explains the rationale of your response: you might, for instance, describe a detail, a theme, a method, a way of seeing, that you learnt from the poems in the past week, and that prompted your own poem. That is, you will offer a thoughtful account of your own process of composition to accompany the poem you create. You will create an on-line portfolio of all your poems (including drafts and revisions,), as well as of your biweekly notes, and submit this portfolio at the end of the semester.
There will be two other writing assignments. Mid-way through the semester you will write a short paper analyzing one poem you have read that you have found particularly compelling. This paper will ask that you read what other literary critics have written about that poem or about that particular form of poetry, so that you can join in an on-going critical conversation. Your final project will be a longer essay that will reflect on what it means to write poetry.