Cynthia Cruz

BA, Mills College. MFA, Sarah Lawrence College. Poet; author of Ruin (Alice James Books, 2006) and The Glimmering Room (Four Way Books, 2012); recipient of fellowships from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and a Hodder Fellowship at Princeton University. Work published in Isn’t it Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets (Wave Books, 2004) and The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (The University of Iowa Press, 2004). SLC 2008–

Undergraduate Courses 2018-2019


A Kind of Haunting: A Poetry Workshop

Open , Seminar—Spring

In James E. Young’s essay, “Daniel Libeskind’s Jewish Museum in Berlin: The Uncanny Arts of Memorial Architecture,” Young describes Libeskind’s designing of the Jewish Museum in Berlin and how essential to its design was the folding in of fragment, void, interruption, and other iterations of rupture. Of Libeskind’s project, Young writes “His drawings for the museum thus look more like the sketches of the museum’s ruins, a house whose wings have been scrambled and reshaped by the jolt of genocide. It is a devastated site that would now enshrine its broken forms.” In this poetry workshop, we will examine the different ways in which poetry can allow for what cannot be articulated—either because there are simply no words to convey what must be said or because the speaker cannot utter what must be said—and how allowing space for the unspeakable can result in a kind of haunting in a poem. Each class will begin with the discussion of an outside text and then move on to the workshopping of students’ poems. Texts we will be reading and examining include James E. Young’s essay, as well as writings by Jacques Derrida, Mark Fisher, Darian Leader, excerpts from Laura Oldfield Ford’s ‘zines Savage Messiah, excerpts from films, contemporary artwork, and, of course, poetry. Readings from poetry may include work by Cathy Song, Fred Moten, Dionne Brand, Denise Riley, Helene Dunmore, Sean Bonney, Novalis, and the fragments of Hölderlin.

Related Disciplines

Previous Courses

Lines of Flight: A Mixed-Genre Workshop

Open , Seminar—Fall

In the current political climate—where we are inundated each day with too much news and information to fully comprehend while, at the same time, becoming less and less certain what “truth” means—thinking as a form of exercise to work through what is happening in the world becomes essential. Refraining from clichéed thinking and instead practicing a type of thinking that allows us to examine our ideas and thoughts, we will practice what Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari termed “Lines of Flight,” a thinking that moves, travels, and leaps while resisting binaries and reductive thinking. Leaping from genre to genre in our writing practice (poetry, nonfiction, art writing, and the essay) and from genre to genre in our reading practice (philosophy, theory, art writing, poetry, and nonfiction), we will attempt to make sense of the world in which we live while, simultaneously, practicing different “lines of flight.” Some of the writers and thinkers that we will be reading may include: Lara Mimosa Montes, Paul B. Preciado, Dolores Dorantes, Antonin Artaud, Franz Kafka, Allison Benis White, Donna Haraway, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, Michel Foucault, Fred Moten, Fernand Deligny, Avital Ronell, Sara Ahmed, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, and Jakob von Uexküll.


How to Do Things With Words (and Pictures)

Open , Seminar—Fall

Taking Heiner Müller’s idea of the loose ekphrasis as a starting point, we will spend the semester moving back and forth from text to image as a means of finding the space between—all the while discussing issues of craft. We will read and discuss the journals and notebooks of writers and artists, as well hybrid texts and artist’s books (texts that incorporate images and artwork). Such texts may include: the archives of Robert Mapplethorpe, Eva Hesse, and David Wojnarowiz; notebooks and journals by Louise Bourgeois, Antonin Artaud, and Marlene Dumas; and artists’ books and texts by Tacita Dean, Marguerite Duras, Julie Ault, Moyra Davey, Hannah Höch, Ana Mendieta, and Felix Gonzalez Torres. We will visit art galleries and museums, an archive, and bookshops—such as Printed Matter, the New Museum Bookstore, and the PS1 Bookstores—that specialize in artist’s books. The final project will be a text of poems with images.


The Archive and Consumption: A Poetry Writing Workshop

Open , Seminar—Year

This workshop is a one-year course; students may opt to take the class for one or both semesters.

“All enjoyment, all taking in and assimilation, is eating, or rather, eating is nothing other than assimilation.” —Novalis

In this poetry workshop, we will look at the work of poets whose work explores and/or enacts “the archive” and/or “consumption.” Desire is connected to the archive and consumption (taking in, collecting, hoarding, devouring, and cannibalism), as well as the refusal of consumption (protest and rebellion, silence, stutter, hesitation, and space). These ideas will be studied and discussed as we utilize in our own writing various techniques culled from these worlds. In addition to poetic works, we will also look to fashion, visual art, philosophy, film, and fiction. In writing workshop and in conference, we will look at ways that we can use ideas of the archive and consumption in our poetry.