This course and its inquiry are based on the premise that a poem asserts its own emotional, thematic, and narrative intention, distinct from its author’s (poet’s) intention.
In making the distinction between the writer’s intention and the poem’s intention, writers acquire the benefit of awareness of their artistic creations as energy and impulse that arises out of, but has an independent expressive life from, them. That awareness promotes new strategies for composing and revising poems, including how to do the following:
- Be loyal to the poem, rather than life-event facts
- Make intentional, disciplined decisions during revision
- Read all styles of poetry with interest, sympathy, and imagination
- Be unbound by previous definitions of poetry
Course inquiry will form around such questions as the following:
- How does the poem want to make meaning?
- What discoveries, confessions, revelations, etc. does the poem want to convey?
- What technical or formal support will facilitate the poem’s voyage of discovery?
Students are invited to leave behind their preconceptions about what a poem can be, and are encouraged to bring their curiosity, enthusiasm, open-mindedness, and playfulness to class.