Niedecker, Graham, Ford (LIT4259.01)

Phillip B. Williams

This is an advanced literary study of three women poets who seem connected aesthetically through the modernist school of poetics, focusing on fragmentation, lyricism, formal inventiveness, and interrogation of self and self’s participation/existence in their specific time. What bridges exist between Lorinne Niedecker, an early objectivist poet; Jorie Graham, arguably one of the most challenging and rewarding poets of our time; and Katie Ford, who with three vastly different books has traversed topics and interests such as Christianity, natural disasters, and premature birth? What unites these three poets, beyond gender, is their brilliant embrace of the world and how they integrate myriad topics to speak to what is human and made vulnerable therein. This class is meant to discover what we can learn from their work when we put their oeuvres in conversation. We will read several books from each author and particularize their prosodic interests, thematic foci, and personal manifestoes as dictated by the poems themselves. What and how do these poets believe? There will be a midterm paper, weekly annotations, and a final paper/presentation. Corequisites: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events (typically on alternating Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm).

Prerequisites: Permission of the instructor. Email a sample critical paper between 5-7 pages (can be something already written) to phillipwilliams@bennington.edu by Monday, November 19. Class lists will be posted outside the Literature office on Monday, November 26.
Credits: 4
M 4:10pm - 6:00pm; Th 4:10pm - 6:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 15
This course is categorized as 4000, All courses, Areas of Study, Four Credit, Literature, Monday and/or Thursday Afternoons, Phillip B. Williams, and tagged , , , .