R. A. Villanueva

BA, Rutgers University. Ed.M., 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, Ploughshares, the American Poetry Review, Guernica, AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, and in international publications such as The Poetry Review and Ambit. His honors include commendations from the Forward Prizes, a Ninth Letter Literary Award, and fellowships from Kundiman and the Constance Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts. SLC, 2018–

Graduate Courses 2022-2023

MFA Writing

BUT THERE ARE NEW SUNS: Defiance, Poetics, and Practice

Craft—Fall

The spark and sustaining fire for our work is this tercet from Octavia E. Butler’s unfinished novel, Parable of the Trickster: “There’s nothing new/under the sun,/but there are new suns.” We take those lines as both inspiration and aspiration, reckoning with what we create, how we create, and for whom we need to create. At the heart of this course pulses an ever-evolving progression of catalytic writing experiences, experiments with form, and conversations about daring contemporary poems. And as a coda to those explorations, we will challenge ourselves to design—and then bring to life—dynamic projects that engage with the wider world, thrive in the public sphere, and redefine the possibilities of poetry and community.

Faculty

Previous Courses

MFA Writing

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

Craft—Fall

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.

Faculty

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

Craft—Fall

Two ideas power the imaginative and critical fascinations of this course. The first idea is from CAConrad: “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”; the second, from the opening lines of a sonnet by Terrance Hayes: “Our sermon today concerns the dialectic/Blessings in transgression & transcendence.” 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, the tensions between rebellion and innovation. And all the while, we will provoke new drafts and invent forms of our own through play and collaboration.

Faculty