ENGL 364
Documentary Poetry Fall 2014
Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

One of the most vibrant trends in contemporary writing, documentary poetry draws on various kinds of source materials (including photographs, newspapers, legal records, and public testimonials) in the creation of innovative forms. This course will be a joint adventure in the reception and production of such work, and is designed for anyone interested in the intersections of the creative and the socio-political. Our documentary models treat a range of subjects — from a slave-ship massacre, to coal mining accidents in West Virginia and China, to American gun violence, to the impact of climate change — yet all share both an investigative approach and a commitment to thinking about the way individual lives are shaped by larger social and historical structures. Generically, these works make use of the strategies of poetry, but also frequently incorporate essay, narrative, and image to create distinctly mixed forms. Students likewise will choose topics to investigate over the term, and their final projects will be printed through Publication Studio, an on-demand press in residency at WCMA in Fall 2014. As part of the Exploring Diversity Initiative, this tutorial engages questions of power and privilege, asking students to pursue an independent writing project that works empathically to understand a situation by uncovering its social, political, cultural, and historical contexts. Readings will likely be drawn from the following authors: Anne Carson, Julie Carr, Bhanu Kapil, Myung Mi Kim, Mark Nowak, Craig Santos Perez, M. NourbSe Philip, Claudia Rankine, Julianna Spahr, and C.D. Wright.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 1632
Grading: OPG
Requirements/Evaluation: students will meet with the instructor in pairs for an hour each week; they will write a 5- to 7-page critical paper or installment of their documentary project every other week (five in all), and comment on their partners' work in alternate weeks
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: if over-enrolled, admission will be decided based on a writing sample
Distributions: Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Attributes: ENGL Literary Histories C

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