This course will serve as an immersion in the work of several major American poets of the 1950s and 1960s, noted for their humor, irreverence, disjunctive experimentation, charm, and wildness, and collectively known as the New York School. We will begin by focusing on the original generation of New York School poets: John Ashbery, Frank OHara, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, and Barbara Guest. We will also study the Abstract Expressionist painters who were these poets’ contemporaries and close friends, discuss connections between New York School poets and the French surrealists of the early 20th century, and examine the New York School against the cultural, political, and social landscape of 1960s New York. We will then trace the influence of the New York School on subsequent generations of writers, reading the work of Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Dorothea Lasky, Bernadette Mayer, Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, Morgan Parker, Anne Waldman, and Dean Young. Students are responsible for weekly response papers, occasional creative imitations, and two longer critical projects.
Corequisites: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events (most Wednesday evenings at 7:00p