Saturdays, Nov 14 - Dec 19
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Tuition assistance is available in checkout.
Forms may be understood as masks; personas may be understood as masks; some poets have conceived as poetry as the mask of the gods, others as masks they don to reveal themselves without (they argued) revealing themselves. The politics of masks precedes the current pandemic, and the sub-literate rah-rah which attends so many conversations on so many subjects today, including the subject of masks. That pre-cursive politics has been playing out in American poetry for decades: the poem, one side argues, should be an authentic, moral utterance, and the speaker of the poem revealed as a paradigm of virtue who also happens to be moving, hip or entertaining. The other, a more or less obverse view, is that the poem is purely Art; sincerity of the utterance or its speaker(s), this side would argue, should not be confused with the sincerity of the poet.
Masks, as they have been deployed over centuries by numerous poets, can in fact be used in the service of poems written with either of the aforementioned agendas.
In this class, suitable for any poet or writer, we will study poets’ uses of masks in various forms to achieve such ends as political commentary, personal exploration, realistic (or Naturalistic) portrayal of life as it is, poems delving into the politics of identity and self-identification, and poems written primarily to excite the imagination of the reader, poems whose aim is what Oscar Wilde called “Beauty.” Specifically we will study poetry by Jean Toomer, Pablo Neruda, David Blair, John Keats, W. B. Yeats, Hart Crane, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, James Wright, Frank Bidart, Camille Dungy, Peter Campion, Tim Seibles, Rosanna Warren, Robert Pinsky, T. S. Eliot, W. S. Merwin, Derek Walcott and Oscar Wilde.
Please note: This class is an online class. To participate, students must have a stable internet connection with a computer or device with a webcam and microphone.