Sound and Cadence for the Contemporary Ear/Era (LIT2200.01)

Anaïs Duplan

Sounds make us feel things. Sometimes, sound even unites us in feeling things. We might hear the words of Bob Marley swooning, “Let’s get together and feel alright.” Yet the effects (and affects) of music can also be detrimental. In Sonic Warfare, musician Steve Goodman (aka Kode9) argues that sound can be—and has been—used to express social threat and to create widespread ambiences of fear. Given the massive affective possibilities of sound, poetry has the potential to bring about an essentially limitless world of emotion in its readers. Activating the poetic concepts of meter, intonation, cadence, rhythm, speed, and tonality, we will examine a number of affectively-driven approaches to arranging sound in contemporary poetry, from Robin Coste Lewis’s lyric critiques on race to D.S. Marriott’s lineated musings on UK grime music. Other poets to be studied may include Joy Harjo, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Myung Mi Kim, and Ada Limon. Though our focus will be on reading poetry, we will also read essays by and interviews with writers on the crafting of sound. In addition to weekly reading assignments, students will also be given listening assignments, which will combine audio recordings of poetry readings and music. To that end, students will complete short weekly response papers and a final long critical paper on a relevant topic of their choice. All together, we will tune our ears to language as a potent mechanism in contemporary creative writing, harnessing our ability to read and interpret sonically complex work.


Learning Outcomes:

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Course Level: 2000-level
Credits: 4
M 3:40PM - 5:30PM & W 4:10PM - 6:00PM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 20
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: All courses , Fully In-Person , Literature , Updates