R. A. Villanueva

BA, Rutgers University. EdM, Rutgers Graduate School of Education. MFA, New York University. Author of Reliquaria (University of Nebraska Press, 2014), winner of the Prairie Schooner Book Prize. His writing appears in Poetry, the American Poetry Review, Guernica, Prac Crit, AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, and elsewhere. His honors include a commendation from the Forward Prizes, a Ninth Letter Literary Award, and fellowships from Kundiman, Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, and The Asian American Literary Review. He is a founding editor of Tongue: A Journal of Writing & Art. SLC, 2018

Graduate Courses

Writing 2018-2019

Poetry Craft: New Chords and Transgressions: Topics in Craft (and Daring)


Two ideas power the imaginative and critical fascinations of this course. The first is from the opening lines of a sonnet by Terrance Hayes: “Our sermon today concerns the dialectic/Blessings in transgression & transcendence”; the second, from CA Conrad: “We are not alone in our particular stew of molecules, and the sooner we admit, even admire, the influence of this world, the freer we will be to construct new chords of thought without fear.” Together we will complicate—and celebrate—formal traditions, exploring how writers work with and within and against conventions, expectations, and architectures. By way of spirited engagements with contemporary poems and translations, we will consider defiance and deference, structure and surprise, and the tensions between rebellion and innovation. And all the while, we will provoke new drafts and invent forms of our own by way of play and collaboration. Look forward to intensive meetings devoted to generative writing, reading an array of daring poets (think: Layli Long Soldier, Solmaz Sharif, Vievee Francis, Anne Carson, Sarah Howe, Patrick Rosal, sam sax, Natalie Diaz, Tyehimba Jess, etc.) and conversations about the matter and melody of all that you create.