Suzanne Gardinier

BA, University of Massachusetts-Amherst. MFA, Columbia University. Author of 12 books, most recently Amérika: The Post-Election Malas 1-9 (2017), Notes from Havana (2016), Carta a una compañera (2016), Homeland (2011), Iridium & Selected Poems (2010), & Letter from Palestine (2007). Her poetry has appeared in Grand Street, The New Yorker, and the Wolf magazine in the United Kingdom; her fiction in The Paris Review & Fiction International's “Artists in Wartime” issue; and her essays in The Manhattan Review, The Progressive, & Siècle 21 in Paris. Served on an American Studies Association Panel called “American Jews, Israel, & the Palestinian Question,” and as resident director of the Sarah Lawrence College study abroad program in Havana. A recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation. SLC, 1994–

Undergraduate Courses 2017-2018

Writing

First-Year Studies in Poetry: The Making of the Complete Lover

Open , FYS—Year

The known universe has one complete lover, and that is the greatest poet. —Walt Whitman

This class will be a yearlong introduction to the ways and means of making poetry, from the most concrete to the least: the word, the line, the image, the sonnet, the ghazal, the blues, prescience, truth, revision. Our text will be an anthology of 99 great poems according to me, from ancient Sumer to the present, called “Love the Wild Swan,” supplemented by poems your tastes will add to our mix. We will not discuss drafts of student work in class but in conference; in class, we'll discuss the mysteries of poems that we love as a way of figuring out how to make new poems in dialogue with them. You will be expected to attend class, engage with assigned and suggested readings, participate in discussions, and, by the end of the course, produce: (a) a short critical essay on a poem; (b) a short biographical sketch of a poet; (c) a 20-page anthology of poems, with introduction; and (d) a 10-page chapbook. The only prerequisites for this class are a passion for reading that equals your passion for writing and a willingness to undertake whatever might be necessary to read and write better on our last day of class than on our first.

Faculty

Nonfiction Workshop: To Tell the Truth

Open , Seminar—Fall

This class will explore the mysteries of writing what has been called “nonfiction,” focusing particularly on questions around what has been called lying and what has been called telling the truth. Was Toni Morrison right when she said our minds have an “antipathy to fraud”? Does lying have a syntax? What are the cultural contexts, nourishments, and manipulations that may affect what happens between a writer and a drafted or published sentence? What’s the difference between a lie that illuminates the truth and a lie that obfuscates or tries to extinguish it? Can popular writing lie? Is it possible to “tell the truth”? We will not discuss drafts of student work in class but, rather, in conference; in class, we’ll discuss readings in light of the questions above as a way of guiding our own makings. Our readings may include the work of James Baldwin, Anne Carson, Frantz Fanon, Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, Dionne Brand, Aimé Césaire, Adrienne Rich, Edward Said, Hannah Arendt, and Jean Améry, as well as that of Wallace Stegner, Donald Rumsfeld, Ward Churchill, Peter Matthiessen, Tom MacMaster, Louise Mensch, and the Senate Intelligence Committee Report on Torture. You will be expected to attend class, engage with assigned and suggested readings, participate in discussions, and, by the end of the class, produce 20 pages of publishable nonfiction. The only prerequisites are a passion for reading that equals your passion for writing and a willingness to undertake whatever might be necessary to read and write better on our last day of class than on our first.

Faculty