Reading and Writing Poetry: Poet’s Proof—Existential, Ephemeral, Ethereal, Empirical, and Other Evidences (LIT4377.01)

Jenny Boully

In her 1983 essay, “A Poet’s Prose,” Susan Sontag set out to demarcate what exactly marks exemplary prose written by poets. Similarly, in this course, we will aim to demarcate “A Poet’s Proof;” that is, we will attempt to name and showcase the very many intangible evidences that a poet brings forth in making manifest in language those otherwise hazy, hidden, and invisible moments. What are the evidences that a poem holds in its coffers, and what is the proof that a poem offers? In this course, we will consider how the Existential, Ephemeral, Ethereal, and Empirical are represented in contemporary poetry, focusing on works that utilize shifting and searching forms or rely on spatial elements or visual images. In addition to crafting and workshopping poems, we will consider Marwa Helal’s Invasive Species, Michael Ondaatje’s The Collected Works of Billy the Kid: Left Handed Poems, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictée, Claudia Rankine’s Don’t Let Me Be Lonely: An American Lyric, Kristin Prevallet’s I, Afterlife: Essay in Mourning Time, and Raquel Salas Rivera’s lo terciario/the tertiary.


Learning Outcomes:
- To read and interpret poetic texts with attention to shifts in forms, language, metaphor, tone, and other devices;
- To ascertain the relationship between poetic text and visual images and apply this discovery in one's own creative work;
- To assimilate feedback in one’s revision process as well as complete a significant revision of a piece
- To articulate critical and constructive feedback on the poetry of peers;
- To examine one’s own creative process and its possibilities.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor. Students will be selected based upon a creative writing sample, submitted via this form by November 12. All students may apply for multiple 4000-level Reading and Writing Courses in the same term, but, once accepted, may only enroll in one 4000-level Reading and Writing course per term.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
Th 8:30AM - 12:10PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Fully In-Person , Literature