Fall 2012 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
Creating Poetry: The Poetry of Ideas
Emmanuel Levinas observes in Time and the Other that "It sometimes seems to me that the whole of philosophy is only a meditation of Shakespeare." Philosophers of no lesser rank than Plato and Nietzsche have recognized poetry as serious philosophy, whether as dangerous adversary or as true source.
This course will focus on the ideas, arguments, and thoughts of poetry, with a view to deepening and enriching the work of student poets who already have some experience with the genre. It will develop an ars poetica of meaning, using as models such poets as Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Pope, Goethe, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Dickinson, Eliot, Stevens, Yeats and others, including translations from the Hungarian, German, and Chinese traditions. We will study the relationship between poetic form and the complex prophetic propositions that poetry introduces into the language, and explore the practical use of significant storytelling, deep allegory, characterization, point of view, style, voice, symbolism, and metaphor in crafting a poetic/philosophic idea.
We will use the experience of seeing from the inside how poets so richly and economically express their ideas for the immediate practical purpose of making poetry that is both deep in meaning and luminously intelligible.
Poems by Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Pope, Goethe, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Dickinson, Eliot, Stevens, Yeats and others, including translations from the Hungarian, German, and Chinese traditions. (Mostly from the Norton Anthology of Poetry).
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
The course will include an ongoing workshop in which students will present their own work for discussion. Quiz essays will enable the students to collect their thoughts on the readings and prepare for discussion. Grades will be based on a student's portfolio of poems composed during the semester, class discussion, and quiz essays.