Poetry Craft: Twentieth-Century Avant-Garde Poetry
This craft class will focus on the history of twentieth-century avant-garde poetry. We will begin briefly in the nineteenth century with Charles Baudelaire, Emily Dickinson, Stéphane Mallarmé, and Lautréamont, and then examine various avant-garde, experimental, and non-mainstream poetry movements, including Symbolism, Dadaism, Surrealism, Imagism, Harlem Renaissance, Négritude, Black Mountain School, Beats, New York School, Black Arts Movement, concrete poetry, feminist poetry, ethnopoetics, Language poetry, spoken word poetry, hip-hop, and more. We will end by focusing on recent and current trends such as Flarf, Conceptual writing, ecopoetics, and digital poetry. Along the way, we will pause to talk more extensively about important figures in this history such as T. S. Eliot, Gertrude Stein, Aimé Césaire, Robert Creeley, Adrienne Rich, Alice Notley, as well as read the work of a few younger writers. We will also occasionally reference parallel developments in twentieth-century avant-garde art and music. During the semester, we will look to incorporate into our own poetry some of the avant-garde techniques and strategies presented in class.