Sonorous and Silent: Transatlantic Poetry in Spanish (SPA4404.01)

Lena Retamoso Urbano

What is a poem? Let’s start to explore this question with a verse from the Peruvian poet Luis Hernández Camarero: “Las mil fases de lo eterno” (“The thousand phases of the eternal.”) In this course, we will explore the different ways in which a poem has expressed the human search for meaning, and has been a verbal, visual, sonorous, and/or silent, continent of dreams, desire, resistance, solitude, experimentation, and hope. We will perform close textual analyses, and explore socio-historical contexts in order to deepen our knowledge of this most elusive of literary genres. Texts will range from Modernismo to its contemporary forms: the inner gaze, the poetics of social justice, and the New Avant-Garde; and whenever pertinent, we will consider poets from other centuries as well, such as Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (Mexico, 17thcentury) and Garcilaso de la Vega (Spain, 16th century,) among others. The focus of the course is on student-generated discussion, and critical thinking about this literary representation; however, continual practice in all four major areas of language (listening, speaking, reading, and writing) is essential. Students will develop their oral and written skills, progressing to a defense of ideas. We will examine grammatical and linguistic questions as they arise during our discussions. This course will also provide contextual support for future studies in Spanish, as well as other fields.

Learning Outcomes:
1) Gain a solid understanding of the variety of ways in which Spanish and Latin American poets reflect, (re)interpret, and configure reality.
2) Gain confidence in their ability to speak, listen, read and write in Spanish about a variety of topics and poetic styles
3) Develop critical thinking and analytical skills through discussions of a wide array of lyrical texts that explore diverse themes and poetic forms.
4) Design an academic and/or creative project associated with poems coming from Latin American and Spanish authors.

Delivery Method: Fully in-person
Prerequisites: 3 terms of Spanish at Bennington or taking a brief oral and/or written test to evaluate proficiency. Email Lena Retamoso Urbano ( to express interest.
Corequisites: Attendance at 2 cultural studies and language events.
Course Level: 4000-level
Credits: 4
M/Th 10:00AM - 11:50AM (Full-term)
Maximum Enrollment: 15
Course Frequency: One time only

Categories: 4000 , All courses , Four Credit , Fully In-Person , Spanish