The New York School of Poetry (LIT2198.01)

Michael Dumanis

This course will serve as an immersion in the work of the New York School of poetry: successive generations of imaginative American poets noted for their humor, irreverence, disjunctive experimentation, charm, and wildness. Significant attention will be paid to the effect of close friendship and community, homosexuality, painting and other visual arts, and New York City urban culture on the development of distinct poetic styles. We will begin by focusing on the original generation of New York School poets–John Ashbery, Frank O’Hara, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, and Barbara Guest–alongside the related early work of Back Arts Movement poets Amiri Baraka and Jayne Cortez. We will also study the New York painters who were these poets’ contemporaries and close friends, and examine the New York School against the cultural, political, and social landscape of 1950s and ’60s New York. We will then read Maggie Nelson’s Women, The New York School, and Other True Abstractions, and proceed to trace the influence of the New York School aesthetic on such writers as Ted Berrigan, Joe Brainard, Dorothea Lasky, Bernadette Mayer, Eileen Myles, Alice Notley, Morgan Parker, Anne Waldman, and John Yau. Students are responsible for a class presentation, and a number of creative imitations of New York School poets, as well as two longer critical projects.

Learning Outcomes:
Through this course, students will

a) develop a familiarity with the aesthetic of the New York School of poets and of the 1st and 2nd generations of the New York School of painters
b) learn to consider the effects of diction, syntax, image, non-sequitur, tangent, and rhetorical accumulation as they perform close readings of individual poems
c) form an understanding of the historical, political, and societal context in which the New York School poets and painters flourished
d) strengthen their critical writing skills and the effectiveness of their verbal participation in discussions
e) hone creative writing skills through attempting mimetics of a number of New York School poets

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Corequisites: Students are required to be in attendance at all Literature evenings and Poetry at Bennington events (most Wednesday evenings at 7:00pm.
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 8:00AM-9:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: Every 2-3 years

Categories: 2000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Literature
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