The sonnet, from the Italian sonnetto, or little song, has a long and rich history as a poetic form, described by contemporary poet Laynie Browne as ʺa controlled measure of sound and space within which one can do anything. An invitation.ʺ This course, a literature seminar with a significant creative component, will invite you to study the sonnet in‐depth, both as a traditional form obsessively employed by William Shakespeare and the 14th‐century Italian poet Petrarch, and as an innovative, elastic lyric enjoying a surge in popularity among contemporary writers, some of whom have exploded the form in radical ways. The class will consider the work of such poets as Dante, Petrarch, Shakespeare, Wyatt, Keats, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Claude McKay, John Berryman, Ted Berrigan, Natasha Trethewey, Olena Kalytiak Davis, D.A. Powell, Hannah Sanghee Park, Terrance Hayes, Nikki Wallschlaeger, and Sandra Simonds. Students will write two critical papers, take a midterm exam on form and prosody, recite and memorize two sonnets, and, most weeks, submit for class critique a sonnet of their own.
Corequisite: Students are required to attend all Literature Evenings and Poetry at Bennington events, held most Wednesdays at 7pm.