Summer 2004

HUMS 626
Love, Death, and Politics: Where Poets Find Their Inspiration

Trentham,Edwina A.

06/28/2004 - 08/11/2004
Monday & Wednesday 05:30 PM - 08:30 PM

Public Affairs Center 136

Even the most cursory look at poetry over the centuries reveals that love and death are major sources of poetic inspiration, but what about politics? In PRAISES AND DISPRAISES: POETRY AND POLITICS, THE TWENTIETH CENTURY, Terrence des Pres describes politics as "the play of impersonal force disrupting personal life," adding that politics is "a condition . . . that the human spirit and therefore poetry must take into account." In this course, we will focus on both the "impersonal force" of politics and the very personal experiences of love and death, in order to study the work of five poets reading at the Summer 2004 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival, at the Hill-Stead Museum in Farmington, Connecticut.

We will read and discuss the work of Grace Paley, Richard Blanco, Joan Joffe Hall, Martha Collins, and the winner of the festival's 2004 National Poetry Competition for Adults (to be announced in May). We will also attend readings at the Sunken Garden by the winner of the festival's National Poetry Competition for Adults (June 30), Joan Joffe Hall (July 14), and Martha Collins (July 28), and view videos of the readings by Grace Paley and Richard Blanco. Class will be held at the Makeshift Theater at Hill-Stead Museum on the nights we attend the readings.

Students will keep journals in response to the work of the featured poets and the poetry readings, will write at least five poems of their own, and will also write either a short critical essay on one of the poets or a review of one of the poetry readings. In addition to studying the work of the poets, we will read and discuss a collection of critical essays by Adrienne Rich, Terrence des Pres, Carolyn Heilbrun, Tess Gallagher, and others on the different ways poets think and write about the internal and external world. Students will then explore these ideas through their own research on the work of the assigned poets in order to write their critical essays or reviews. Students will also give a public reading of their work at the end of the semester, and we will produce a book of work by all the students in the class.

A syllabus for this course is available at:
http://www.wesleyan.edu/masters/courses/Summer_2004/su04_syllabi/syb_hums626.html


Edwina Trentham (B.A., Wesleyan University; M.F.A., University of Massachusetts, Amherst) is editor of the poetry magazine Freshwater and her book, Stumbling into the Light, was recently published by Antrim House. She was awarded honorable mention in the 2004 Sunken Garden Poetry Festival Competition, and she will be a featured reader there on June 23, 2005. Her poems have been published in many anthologies and literary journals, including The Massachusetts Review, Kalliope, Prairie Schooner, The American Voice, and The American Scholar.


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Richard Blanco, CITY OF A HUNDRED FIRES (University of Pittsburgh Press), Paperback

Martha Collins, SOME THINGS WORDS CAN DO (The Sheep Meadow Press), Paperback

Joan Joffe Hall, IN ANGLED LIGHT (Antrim House), Paperback

Grace Paley, BEGIN AGAIN (Farrar, Strauss), Paperback

RECOMMENDED TEXT:

Mary Oliver, A POETRY HANDBOOK: A PROSE GUIDE TO UNDERSTANDING AND WRITING POETRY, Paperback

READING MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323

Register for Courses



Contact glsinquire@wesleyan.edu to submit comments or suggestions. 
Copyright Wesleyan University, Middletown, Connecticut, 06459