Divine am I inside and out, and I make holy whatever I touch or am touched
The scent of these arm-pits is aroma finer than prayer,
This head is more than churches or bibles or creeds. –Walt Whitman
And so it was I entered the broken world
To trace the visionary company of love, its voice
An instant in the wind (I know not whither hurled)
But not for long to hold each desperate choice.
To walk barefoot into reality means abandoning the independence of the ego. Instead of making everything an object for the self, the mind must efface itself before reality, or plunge into the density of an exterior world, dispersing itself in a milieu which exceeds it and which it has not made. The effacement of the ego before reality means abandoning the will to power over things. —J. Hillis Miller
This course will trace what has become the dominant tradition in American poetry. Its keynote address is Emerson’s “The Poet,” which urges the following guidelines: 1) form should be an extension of content, not a pre-existing Platonic structure [“For it is not metres, but a metre-making argument, that makes a poem, -- a thought so passionate and alive, that, like the spirit of a plant or an animal, it has an architecture of its own, and adorns nature with a new thing.”] 2) A language that restores sensuousness and specificity to our poetry [“But wise men pierce this rotten diction and fasten words again to visible things.”] and 3) the subject matter of a poem should be immediate consciousness living its quotidian existence [“I embrace the common, I explore and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low.”] The poets in this course will include Whitman, Dickinson, WC Williams, Robert Frost, Hart Crane, Wallace Stevens, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, Joy Harjo. There will be writing for each class period and attendance is required to help create an intellectual community.
This course is restricted to Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors.
Enroll today at MyCUInfo