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Lyric Wreckage and the Climate Crisis cancelled

ENGL 4980.301
TR 3:30-4:59pm
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


From the million metric tons of global e-waste generated annually by fast fashion alone to the floating mass of textile debris known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, how does wreckage feature in the world-making/world-building enterprise of the contemporary poem? As we enter the third decade of the 21st century, our relation to wreckage has intensified. Not only are we beings whose very existence contributes to wreckage, but we are also defined by wreckage in complicated ways—from the microplastics we ingest every day to our own material practices and consumptive habits.

This course proposes that our readerly relationship with the lyric poem’s speaking voice has something to say about how wreckage and excess are configured in our day-to-day existence, affecting our encounter with a world wracked by the urgency of climate change. Through the framework of New Lyric Studies, we will investigate how the lyric poem enhances forms of sociality, such as guest and host, individual and community, and indigenous and nonindigenous. Throughout the semester, we will pay attention to the variety of ways that wreckage is wrought—materially, yes, but also spatially, temporally, formally and informally—and reckoned with through the lyric tradition.

We’ll also talk about our own critical, creative, and ethical entanglements in such an enterprise. Drawing on critical works such as Min Hyoung Song’s Climate Lyricism and creative work that centers indigenous perspectives such as Natalie Diaz’s Postcolonial Love Poem, Gabriel Ojeda-Sagué’s Losing Miami, Craig Santos Perez’s Habitat Threshold, and Jake Skeets’s Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, this course will explore wreckage as a heuristic for reflecting on, revising, or rejecting modern conventions of lyric expression of self and subjectivity.

This course is designed to familiarize students with research methods and current scholarship in the field of literary studies.