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Ut Pictura Poesis (as Is Painting, So Is Poetry): a Writing Workshop for All

ENGL 415.640
instructor(s):
W 5:30-8:10
fulfills requirements:
Creative Writing Seminar Requirement of the Creative Writing Track

Images and the figures of speech called imagery bring language to life and abstract ideas to light in the mind. They are what create the physical world of fiction and convey the subjective realities of poems and the arguments of essays. In this workshop we will explore the intersection between writing and the visual arts suggested by Simonides de Keos in the 5th century B.C.E. (Poetry is a speaking picture, painting a silent poetry) and echoed above in Horace's famous dictum. We will look at some of the theory behind the œsister arts and the two forms of description which unite them: literal and figurative. Mostly we will examine and play with the language of images and the transfer of categories of meaning which metaphor and its attendant likenesses govern, along with the images great project: animation--the ultimate sense of the real. We will read poems, stories, portions of plays, and essays by writers as diverse as Seamus Heaney, Kate Chopin, Milan Kundera, Annie Dillard, Yusef Komunyakka, Shakespeare, Susan Sontag, and Susun Minot. Students will write weekly and participate in weekly peer review. Revision is expected. This is a workshop that will teach writers of all genres to write persuasively and evocatively.