Poetic conventions and craft rules taught me how to write. Conventions illuminated what subjects I could think about in my writing, and how I could imbue that thinking with the feeling (or illusion) of force and inevitability. Then, over time, the rules became a box that was too small. This class is designed to address that feeling. What invisible, internalized rules limit us? What other paths could exist? What subtle and large ways can we resurrect poetry in ourselves? We’ll investigate the genius of work that persists at the margins of prevailing conventions in order to expand our sense of what’s possible. Additionally, we’ll experiment with nontraditional workshop modes in order to center the uniqueness of each student’s voice.
Classes will consist of readings and discussions, both of others’ work and students’ work, as well as time for writing, revision, and sharing. We’ll look at poems by authors such as Sei Shonagon, Nezahualcoyotl, Nicholas Breton, Robert Herrick, George Herbert, Edgar Allen Poe, Gertrude Stein, Maria Banus, Gwendolyn Brooks, Pier Pasolini, James Schuyler, Francisca Aguirre, Audre Lorde, Lorenzo Thomas, Alice Notley, Dara Wier, Bob Flanagan, Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, Chelsey Minnis, Victoria Chang, Rachel Zucker, Anne Boyer, Dorothea Lasky, Kate Durbin, Rachel Glaser, Sophie Robinson, Monica McClure, and Akusua Akoto. We’ll also look at texts and/or artwork by Lady Drury, Mary Delany, Claude Monet, Marc Chagall, Martin Wong, Red Grooms, and others.
Emily Bludworth de Barrios is the author of one book of poems, Splendor (H_NGM_N 2015), and two chapbooks: Women, Money, Children, Ghosts (Sixth Finch 2016) and Extraordinary Power (Factory Hollow Press 2014). Her poems have most recently appeared in jubilat, The Harvard Review, Gulf Coast, Columbia Journal, and The Poetry Review. She received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and also holds degrees from Goldsmiths College and The College of William and Mary. She was born in Houston and raised in Houston, Cairo, and Caracas; she now lives in Houston. Her website is www.emilybludworthdebarrios.com.