Grackle artwork by Mary
“…tomorrow a new walk is a new walk..”
― A.R. Ammons, Corsons Inlet
We all have a relationship to the world outside our bodies. Although we often think of poetry as an inward practice of confessional reflection, so much of this is mediated by the outside world, which includes everything from our houses, our families, nature, politics, and all iterations of the “environment.”
This class will ask: “What does it mean to write about the outside?” in a multitude of ways. We will look at and write poems about nature, domesticity, entanglement urbanization, land politics, and geography. We will discuss how the environment is entangled in our everyday experience and our bodies. We’ll read poets from multiple time periods and multiple locations who have their own unique relationship to the outside including Walt Whitman, Layli Long Soldier, and Mahmoud Darwish. We will write poems exploring and interrogating our relationships to the respective geographies we inhabit.
Maha Ahmed is an English Literature & Creative Writing PhD candidate at the University of Houston. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon where she was recipient of the Promising Scholar Award. Her poetry and reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in Grist, The Adroit Journal, 580 Split, Rusted Radishes, The Recluse, and elsewhere. Her critical and creative work explores the Arab-American diaspora, World Literature, translation, and global feminism. She edits poetry for the Beirut-based literary magazine Rusted Radishes and nonfiction for Gulf Coast. Find her on twitter @mahaahmed81.