Types of Creative Writing

ENG 313: Poetry of Resistance

Spring 2019

Instructor: Lee Kava

Contact: lkkava@hawaii.edu

Course Description

In this course, we approach poetry as a space from which to document, examine, and imagine forms of activism, civil disobedience, resistance, and liberation. What is resistance? How does it live in poetry? How can a poet portray resistance to everyday and systemic racism, heteropatriarchy, homophobia, and imperialism? What social change has poetry helped foster in the past? How does poetry influence us now? In this class, we engage these questions through an interweaving of poetic study and practice. We will be reading  work by poets whose works document and practice activism within specific political and cultural movements while using those examples to create original pieces of poetry.

Each of the major poetry collections of this course engage intersectional resistance movements and liberation struggles that center body, race, ethnicity, desire, gender, sexuality, immigration, land, water, and belonging. In order to contextualize the poetry and poets included in the reading list, we will be discussing past and ongoing movements of resistance focused on (but not limited to) immigration, civil rights, indigenous rights, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, militarization, climate change, and sovereignty. Students will be engaging the poetry arising from and connected to these movements in order to contextualize their own poetic practice. Ultimately, this class is meant to provide a foundation for studying and practicing poetry as a particular form—and platform—of resistance.

Throughout the semester, students will produce weekly reflection pieces alongside shorter creative free-writes and poems. Each student will conclude the semester with a creative performance and a final poetry portfolio.


Key Texts

Janice Lobo Sapigao, microchips for millions

Solmaz Sharif, Look

Tanaya Winder, Words Like Love

Danez Smith, [insert] boy

Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Iep Jāltok

*Course Reader