In this intensive poetry writing workshop, we will study essays, poetic theories, and manifestos that argue for varying models of perception and approaches to perception on the page. We will begin with 19th century poets such as Dickinson and Wordsworth and as the semester progresses, we will read increasingly more contemporary work: poets to be read may include Lorine Niedecker, George Oppen, Barbara Guest, and Jericho Brown. We will ask ourselves, how can we make a poem employing these models of perception and poetics given our own rapid ingestion of information in supermarkets and streets and online? How can we defamilarize ourselves from the quotidian of our experience? How can we better write with our full attention, and with all our senses? As Percy Bysshe Shelley has it, there is “naught but mutability,” so do we need to formulate new models of perception that enable us to see the world as it is? Consequently, in addition to writing and revising a portfolio of poems, students will write a theoretical model of perception and poetics that could fit our present time.
Corequisites: Students must attend all Literature Evenings and Poetry at Bennington events and may only take one Reading and Writing course per semester.