Form and Theory of Poetry

This is a course about poetry: reading it, thinking about it, writing it. We will alternate between defenses of poetry and essays about poetics and books of poems that employ different forms as lenses on the world. We will read Shakespeare’s sonnets carefully and write a sonnet in his form, then move on to contemporary poet Terrence Hayes’s sonnets. We will also read a book of documentary poetry by Muriel Rukeyser, The Book of the Dead (1938), about an industrial disaster in West Virginia, as well as a new book of hybrid writing by Megin Jiminez. Along the way, you will write weekly responses to the reading, your own defense of poetry, and poems that take their inspirations from our reading. The final project will be a chapbook of poems with an introduction to your work.


Lofty Dogmas, edited by Brown, Finch and Kumin

William Shakespeare, Sonnets, 

Terrence Hayes, American Sonnets: for my past and future assassin

Megin Jiminez, Mongrel Tongue

Muriel Rukeyser, The Book of the Dead