Mahogany Browne, Taylor Mali, James Merenda and Jeanann Verlee, representatives from three of New York City’s most prominent poetry slam series, discuss and demonstrate the poetry slam and what makes a poem not just “come alive” in performance but score well with judges.
San Francisco poet Aaron Shurin considers the question “What is prosody?” in light of the current movement away from meter and traditional forms, exploring some of the ways in which poetic craft continues to make meaning in contemporary poetry. (Full Audio, approx. 1 hr)
Renowned scholar and critic Marjorie Perloff discusses American composer and music theorist John Cage (1912-1992), exploring his poetic texts, and looking at his role as a central precursor of Conceptualist poetics. (Full Audio, approx. 1 hour)
Not a class in mechanics, but a solid review (and more) of what makes poetry tick—from the technique to the heartbeat. Participants will look at meter, rhyme and sonic devices, examine some stanza forms (the sonnet, the villanelle, the pantoum), and discuss Carl Jung’s four functions, all the while learning how these disciplines can inform the use of free verse, the medium employed by most contemporary poets. Students will write both in and out of class, exploring neighborhood settings to strengthen their powers of observation.
This class will focus on reading and writing the chapbook-length long poem, and the unique challenge posed by structuring a longer poem will be a focal point throughout our close readings and workshops. For the first four weeks participants will look at select sequences and series, narratives and meditations, documentary poems and procedural works. Through close reading, discussion, writing assignments and exercises they will then explore together some of the formal and thematic possibilities that arise when poets move into the amplitude only the longer poem offers.
Lynn Emanuel is Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh. Her books of poetry include Noose and Hook (2010), Then, Suddenly— (1999), and The Dig (1992), which was a winner of the National Poetry Series. Her awards include two Pushcart Prizes and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship.
Heather McHugh is a poet, translator, and Milliman Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington. Her volumes of poetry include Upgraded to Serious, Eyeshot, and Hinge & Sign: Poems 1968-1993. Her translations of Euripides appear in Cyclops. Her awards include a MacArthur Foundation genius award, numerous Pushcart Prizes, and a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship.