You will read some great works of literature (old and new),
study the genre trademarks, and then venture to write in these genres
yourselves. For instance, when we read
Voltaire’s Candide, we’ll pick out
his satiric targets for social criticism, such as wars and colonialism. We’ll
also pick out his long list of specific satiric techniques: irony, incongruous
juxtaposition or “clunkers,” and so on.
Then, each student will bring the characters Candide and Pangloss to
Hawai’i to satirize anything that is a mess in your present world.
For poetry, we will read Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself,”
Diane Fisher’s Kettle Bottom, Bill
Moyers’ Fooling with Words, and a packet
of individual poems, from free verse to villanelle. Books will be available
from Revolution Books.
You will create two satires (in prose) and poems in many
styles, including dramatic monologues in voices other than your own. You’ll
also be responsible for a couple of analytic papers on the literature, plus
midterm, final, quizzes, and class participation.