Marie Howe

BS, University of Windsor, Canada. MFA, Columbia University. Chancellor to the Academy of American Poets; Poet laureate of New York State; author of Magdalene; 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–

Undergraduate Courses 2018-2019

Writing

Eco-Poetry

Open , Seminar—Year

In this poetry class—a yearlong school of poetry and the Earth—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 and right up through Gary Snyder and to utterly contemporary poets such as Brenda Hillman and Chase Twitchell. We will also read books and articles that teach us about the physical world. We will wonder how eco-poetry is different from nature poetry. We will practice one and then the other. Each student will research an aspect of the natural world and incorporate that knowledge into documentary poems. Each student will present his/her knowledge and poems to the class community as a conference project each semester. We will read books of poems but also watch films, take field trips, and meet with each other outside of class. By the end of the class, my hope is that each of us will have a greater understanding of the great organism that we call Earth and will create a collection of poems that engage the questions that our class raises: What is time? What is death? What is Eden? Where is the garden now? Who are the other organisms? How have we, as a species, affected the other organisms? How have we affected the oceans, the earth, the air? How can poetry address the ecological crisis? Required for this class: intellectual curiosity, empathy, and a willingness to observe the world—to pay attention and to write poetry that matters—beyond the individual self. This is a class for experienced writers, as well as for those who want to give writing poetry a try. All are welcome.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Poetry: What Holds The Unsayable

Open , Seminar—Spring

Poems are not merely feelings, the poet Ranier Maria Rilke has written, but experiences. What is the difference between a feeling and an experience? How can a poem become an experience? How can a poem, originating from the personal, transcend the personal? How can writing the poem transform the writer? Every poem holds the unsayable. How does a poem do that? How can we attempt to do that—using words? If you are interested in these questions, take this course. The course is open to experienced writers, as well as to absolute beginners. If you are interested in these questions, you are welcome. This is a reading/writing course. We will spend time every week reading poems that have already been published (by dead poets and living poets) to see how they were made: music, syntax, line, sound, and image. We might spend time generating new work in class through exercises and experiments. And we will spend time looking closely at one another’s work, encouraging each other to take risks and to move even closer to the mystery of the poem. Each writer in the class will meet with another class member once a week on a “poetry date.” Each writer will be responsible for reading the assigned work and for bringing to class one written offering each week. We will work hard, learn a great deal about poetry and about our own poems, and have a wonderful time.

Faculty
Related Disciplines

Graduate Courses

Writing 2018-2019

Poetry Workshop: Speaking in Tongues, Wearing the Mask: Speaker, Persona, Impersonation, Ventriloquism, Fragment

Workshop—Fall

When I state myself, as the representative of the verse, it does not mean me, but a supposed person. Emily Dickinson, in a letter to Thomas Wentworth Higginson.

For centuries, poets have spoken in the voices of other people. From the early Greeks to Shakespeare, to Walt Whitman, to Emily Dickinson, to Robert Frost, Sylvia Plath, Robert Hayden, Lucille Clifton, Louise Gluck, Patricia Smith, Nick Flynn, Jorie Graham, Tyehimba Jess, etc. What is made possible when one speaks in the voice of a character in an ancient story or myth? What is made possible when one gives voice to a character that lived in another time? Who dares to speak in the voice of a flower? Of a bee? Of a storm? Of a star? What if one gives voice to the fragments of voices within one consciousness? In this class, we will read poems where the poet has spoken in a different tongue or has worn the mask of someone or something else. Each participant will be expected to read assigned collections deeply each week, to meet with another student in a weekly poetry date, and to bring in one new persona poem each week. I hope we will find that outside the limits of the personal story is a cosmos of possibilities for empathy, revision, wonder, instruction, and finding another way in: slant.

Faculty

Previous Courses

Poetry Workshop

Open , Seminar—Spring

This is a reading/writing course. We will spend time every week reading poems that have already been published to see how they were made: music, syntax, line, sound, and image. We might spend time generating new work in class through exercises and experiments. And we will spend time looking closely at one another’s work, encouraging each other to take risks and to move even closer to the sources of our poems. Each writer in the class will meet with another class member once a week on a “poetry date.” Each writer will be responsible for reading the assigned work and for bringing to class one written offering each week. We will work hard, learn a great deal about poetry and about our own poems, and have a wonderful time.

Faculty

Poetry Workshop

Workshop—Fall

This graduate workshop will involve a lot of reading and writing. What are the dominant myths in Western culture? How is your own worldview 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 worldview? 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 nonfiction 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. And 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.

Faculty

First-Year Studies: Poetry: The Song of the Soul

Open , FYS

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.

Faculty

Poetry Workshop

Workshop—Fall

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.

Faculty