ENGL 239
The Long, Short, and Extreme In-between Spring 2010
Division I Writing Skills
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

It takes a certain finesse to craft the vibrations in Gwendolyn Brooks’ 8 line, 24 word poem “We Real Cool,” or to create Ezra Pound’s crisp 2-line vignette “In a Station of the Metro.” At the other end of the spectrum, how does one establish a singularity of vision and sustain the voice necessary for lengthy poems and projects? Notable examples are Larry Levis’ enchanting and winding elegies and David St. John’s novella in verse, “The Face.” This class is primarily a creative writing course in which we will be focusing on some poetic “extremes”–very long and very short poems–that challenge what we think of both poetry and the page. To undertake our own creative writing work, we will be examining certain poems and their methods to understand how these different lengths and forms build their own effectiveness and instruct us how to read them. Do we stick with two lines, or go the distance, page upon page? And if we go with a middle ground, what kind of reinvention can we give that recognizable space? We will also be looking at other less common forms and projects like curtal sonnets or double-jointed hinge poems. The class will be a mix of readings, discussions, and our own poetic production in imitation of some of these “extremes.” Readings will include individual poetry collections, selected poems, and essay handouts. Readings are likely to be drawn from the works of Richard Hugo, Tony Hoagland, Larry Levis, Denise Duhamel, David St. John, Galway Kinnell, Claudia Rankine, among others
The Class: Format: seminar/discussion
Limit: 15
Expected: 15
Class#: 3859
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: regular attendance, participation in class discussions and workshops, several short exercises, and a substantial final creative exercise
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course
Enrollment Preferences: in the event of over-enrollment, preference is given to students with prior creative writing experience
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Attributes: ENGL Creative Writing Courses

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