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Groundbreaking Poets, Traditional Forms

ENGL 262.301
TR 1:30-3:00pm

Learn about sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, and other standards of the established canon as they are revitalized by a diverse range of the most celebrated poets working today. We’ll study Terrance Hayes’ villanelles about John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, Natasha Trethewey’s ghazals and pantoums about mixed-race identity, Sherman Alexie’s sestinas about Native American stereotypes, Patricia Smith’s sonnets about Hurricane Katrina, and other examples by recent Pulitzer Prize winners and US Poet Laureates who are reshaping history through their subversions of canonical forms. 

The class will be split between critical discussion and creative writing workshop so that students can practice writing the same forms we will study. Assignments will include brief responses and more playful assignments on how to write in centuries-old, deeply contemporary forms.

fulfills requirements
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 2: Difference and Diaspora of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Creative Writing Seminar Requirement of the Creative Writing Track
Cultural Diversity in the US of the College's General Education Curriculum