BS, University of Windsor, Canada. MFA, Columbia University. Poet laureate of New York State; author of The Good Thief, selected by Margaret Atwood for the National Poetry Series; editor, with Michael Klein, of In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic; author of What the Living Do; recipient of the Peter I. B. Lavan Younger Poet Prize from the Academy of American Poets, the Mary Ingram Bunting fellowship from Radcliffe College, and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Artist Foundation, and the Guggenheim. SLC, 1993–
Current undergraduate courses
We have said and sung and written poetry from the very beginning of our time on earth. Perhaps the first poem was a lullaby to soothe a baby to sleep, a song made of sounds. Perhaps the earliest poems were prayers—for rain, for the end to rain, for love, for more love, for victory, for luck, for death. We have cried out for joy; we have cried out in despair. We have whispered our dread and recalled our wonder. In this class, we will immerse ourselves in poetry. We will read it, write it, study it, and practice it on the page, out loud, in silences, in performance. We will read essays about poetry and read some texts that form the basis of Western culture (The Greek Myths, The Book of Genesis, etc.), but we will read beyond the borders of Western culture, as well, into the richness of world poetry. You will write a poem each week, read a selection of poems each week, read the poems of your peers each week, meet with another student in our class each week in a poetry date, and meet with me each week in conference. You will emerge from this class with a collection of your own poems and a much deeper understanding of this art—the art that uses words to say what is essentially unsayable. We will have a wonderful time.
Current graduate courses
This graduate workshop will involve a lot of reading as well as writing. What are the dominant myths in western culture? How is own world view influenced by them? What is your relationship to the garden? to time? to error? to form? to wholeness? to brokenness? How does the manner ( the how ) of your poems reflect that world view? What is your relationship to " the natural world" ? If you join this class you will read The Book of Genesis, The Greek Myths, and many other non-fiction texts as well as books of poems- approximately a book a week. You will write a poem a week and meet with another member of our class community once a week in a poetry date. You will keep a journal of observations each week. You will meet with me in a conference every other week. You will collect your poems into a chapbook at the end of the term. I ask for full participation, deep inquiry, and rigor. We will have a wonderful time.
In this poetry class—a yearlong school of the Earth and the stars—we will consider the great organism Gaia of which we are a part. We will read the long and rich tradition of poetry addressing itself to this subject, from the early indigenous peoples, through the Zen monks and Wordsworth, right up through Gary Snyder, and to utterly contemporary poets such as Brenda Hillman and Chase Twichell. We will consider the Earth and the fullness thereof. We will take field trips, watch films, study trees and plants, and listen to birdsong. We will write a poem a week, read, meet together in poetry dates, observe and learn. By the end of the class, my hope is that each of us will have a greater understanding of the great organism we call Earth and will have a collection of poems that somehow sing to it and to the questions that our class raises: What is time? What is death? What is Eden? Where is the garden now? Who are the other animals? What is a star? What is occurring right now in the deep ocean? What does it mean that everything seems to eat everything? (Again) What is death? What is time? Which bird is that singing right now?
The Dream of Totality: What is the metaphysical? This graduate workshop will involve a lot of reading, as well as writing. What are the dominant myths in Western culture? How is our own world view influenced by them? What is your relationship to the garden? To time? To error? To form? To wholeness? To brokenness? How does the manner (the how) of your poems reflect that world view? If you join this class, you will read The Book of Genesis, The Greek Myths, and many other nonfiction texts, as well as books of poems—approximately one book a week. You will write one poem each week and meet with another member of our class community once a week in a poetry date. You will keep a journal of observations each week. You will meet with me in a conference every other week. You will collect your poems into a chapbook at the end of the term. I ask for full participation, deep inquiry, and rigor. We will have a wonderful time.
We’ll immerse ourselves in the soul and song and art of poetry. We’ll generate writing, critique each other’s work, and read deeply from the long and varied world tradition. We’ll compose in the usual and some unusual ways. Conferences will be a combination of individual and small groups. Weekly poetry dates, field trips, hard work, awe...we’ll have a wonderful time.