Poetry Workshop

This course will offer a workshop both in reading and
writing poetry.  After thinking about
issues of form, language, metaphor, argument, love and death in William
Shakespeare’s sonnets (poems from which we can learn everything there is to
know about poetry in English), we will move into the contemporary frame.  Our focus will be on poetry that plays with
language(s), that takes language as a significant part of its inspiration,
instigation.  Hence, Gertrude Stein works
with the word as thing; Gizelle Gajelonia with Pidgin as poetic language (and
with mainstream American poems as sites for re-vision); Jonathan Stalling with
writing in Chinese and English at the same time;Caroline Bergvall
reinhabits Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales and their “meddle English”; Daniel
Tiffany with Middle English; Cathy Park Hong with an invented language and
sci-fi world.  Students will do a lot of
poetic experimentation, as well as writing a poem a week, reading widely and
deeply in these texts, and working toward a final project of 15 pages,
self-published in chapbook form (look up the word “chapbook”–you’ll find it on
Wikipedia and elsewhere!).  Along the
way, we’ll have a lot of fun with our languages and our poetic conspiracies.

Required Texts (available at Revolution Books):

  • Sonnets, William Shakespeare, Dover
  • Tender Buttons, Gertrude Stein, CreateSpace
  • Yingelishi: Sinophonic English
    Poetry and Poetics,
    Jonathan Stalling, Counterpath Press
  • 13 Ways of Looking at TheBus, Gizelle Gajelonia,
    Tinfish Press
  • Meddle English, Caroline Bergvall, Nightboat Books
  • Dandelion Clock, Daniel Tiffany, Tinfish Press
  • Dance, Dance Revolution, Cathy Hong Park, Norton