Poetry of Perpetual War (LIT2258.01)

Stefania Heim

We will begin our study of War Poetry not on the beach before Troy or in the trenches of the first World War, but in our present moment, when, as legal scholar Mary Dudziak argues, wartime is no longer “an exception to normal peacetime,” but “the only kind of time we have.” What are War Poems when war is everywhere and always? Who does and does not get to write them? What kind of experience do they require? What kind of knowledge or understanding do they engender? What should they look and sound like? Who decides? We will look into the history of this genre, long imagined to take its value from proximity to the gory truths of men’s combat experience. But mostly we will investigate today’s War Poems, paying particular attention to their constructions of, and assumptions about, combatants and civilians, race and gender, self and other, as well as their attempts to make—and unmake—meaning. Readings will be contemporary volumes of poetry in English and translation by writers including Don Mee Choi, Yusef Komunyakaa, Semezdin Mehmedinović, Dunya Mikhail, Alice Notley, Solmaz Sharif, and others.

Prerequisites: None
Credits: 4
T 2:10pm - 4:00pm; F 2:10pm - 4:00pm
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency:
This course is categorized as All courses, Four Credit, Literature, 2000, Tuesday and/or Friday Afternoons, Stefania Heim, and tagged , , , , , , .