/ Graduate Catalogue / Writing / 2014-2015

Poetry Workshop


"Metamorphosis is a painful process. I imagine the exquisite agony of the caterpillar turning itself into a butterfly, pushing out eye-stalks, pounding its fat-cells into iridescent wing-dust, at last cracking the mother-of-pearl sheath and staggering upright on sticky, hair's-breadth legs, drunken, gasping, dazed by the light." -from The Untouchable by John Banville

In this poetry workshop we will rigorously attend each poem's metamorphosis, paying attention to whether it wants to sprout wings, antlers, both or neither. We will try to plot out the poem's most unique path according to the signposts the rough draft gives us. Our focus will be both minute and broad—examining poems on a cellular level, then talking about larger issues, like autobiography, science and poetry, compositional techniques… We will also read a number of books of contemporary poetry (by such authors as Anne Carson, Brenda Shaughnessy, Jen Bervin, Jeffrey Yang, and Kevin Young). Students will be asked to extrapolate from these works-detailing the elasticities and limits of each poetic voice in order to further develop their own.