Studies in Poetry

In this seminar we’re reading a series of contemporary texts in which writers tell life-stories [usually but not always their own life-stories…usually but not always truthfully, or fairly] … texts that that also think about the process of how we tell our life-stories. How much does the process of the telling [or the style or voice or technique or genre] shape the stories we tell—? That, is, shape our lives as we understand them—? Some texts discover the shape of experience, some impose shapes, some ‘borrow’ shapes from other genres and formats, some find significance only in retrospect. Poems, short stories, letters, fables, fairy-tales, lies, even water-colors. Short lectures, student presentations, seminar discussions.

Readings include: Robert Lowell: Life Studies; Sylvia Plath: Ariel, The Bell Jar; Ted Hughes: Crow, The Birthday Letters; John Berryman: 77 Dream Songs; Elizabeth Bishop: Questions of Travel, Geography III.