Groundbreaking Poets & Traditional Forms
Learn about sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, and other standards of the established canon as they are revitalized by the most celebrated poets working today. We'll study Terrance Hayes' villanelles about Harper's Ferry, Natasha Trethewey's ghazals about mixed-race identity, Gwendolyn Brooks' rime royal about Chicago's South Side, sonnets about burned churches by Tyehimba Jess, Patricia Smith's sestinas about Hurricane Katrina, and other examples of how history is expanding through voices of contemporary poets including Natalie Diaz, Rita Dove, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Aracelis Girmay, Fatimah Asghar, and Hai-Dang Phan.
The class will be split between discussion and workshop, so students can practice the same forms we will study. Assignments will include short critical essays and more playful exercises on how to follow--and break--the rules of English meter and form.