Awake and Dreaming: A Poetry Reading and Writing Seminar


This will be a yearlong endeavor: Can we discover some of the secrets of the “balancing act” that poetry is? We will explore distinctions between fact and truth, truth and truthfulness; we will work together to learn how to be awake to image-making, the logic of nonlogic, always offered to us through metaphors, dreams, and memory. Essays on writing, art, artifice, and the artificial will be discussed, along with readings on the craft of poetry and on “revision as creation.” A variety of poems will be read in class—contemporary, traditional, experimental, multicultural. We’ll also workshop our own poems attentively and compassionately, with our eyes on prosody, clarity, and clarity’s critical counterpart: mystery. In conferences, we will continue the hard work of writing, revising, and reading. Ten poems revised and sequenced in chapbook format, an essay as a questioning response to assigned books, and an annotated bibliography (a worksheet) are expected each semester, as well as full class and conference participation. This course is open to serious students of poetry who are committed to reading, writing, and delighting in poems!