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Saturdays, Oct 16 - Nov 6
1:00 pm - 3:30 pm

4 classes, meets weekly
Genre: Poetry 
  • Fall 2021
Time of Day:
Meeting Location:
  • Online
Room: Zoom Room 1


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Poetry of Bliss

Cheap thrills, escape, the sense of participating (without really participating); courage: willful financial, psychological or physical self-flagellation embarked upon by those who’ve been sold some hollow version of a quest; confusion, the medicine show, spending more than one can afford on snake oil, or a situation in which your tormentors come with smiles and trays and congratulate you on your good taste as they rip you off. Intoxication, obviously. Hydrocephalac didacticism, the old maladroit chimera coming again into prominence with its ghastly good intention of honoring distinction at the expense of creativity, a fervent preference for doctrine over Art so pervasive most don’t know they have it. In the kaleidoscopic wash of available distractions, and amid the narrowing range of common perspectives, where does one find bliss?

In this poetry course, suitable for writers in any medium working at any level, we will study and write poems describing, seeking, invoking and embodying bliss. “Follow your bliss,” says Joseph Campbell, whose work seeking to highlight our common humanity rather than our interesting differences has been considered out of date for some time. “It’s just kicks,” says Sal Paradise to his date at a party in New York City. Campbell means try to find what genuinely inspires you and let yourself be open to ways of going further with it. Kerouac, in a novel which can seem to be propagating patriarchal toxicities, is referring, through the character of Sal, to freedoms found in joyous youthful rituals and motion, a kind of speed oriented, open-hearted search through vaguely bohemian experience for moments of bliss.

Art is often the door to, way into, and nebulous but reliable home for human bliss. So is love. So are, for some, forms of war. We’ll read poems about all of it, and you’ll write your way toward, perhaps into your own bliss experiences, creating some possible space to preserve them. Poets we will read may include Nazim Hikmet, John Keats, Horace, Virgil, Catullus, Villon, Richard Howard, Christina Rossetti, Rosanna Warren, Max Jacob, Stephane Mallarme, Pope’s Homer, David Ferry, George Kaligeros, Seferis, C. P. Cavafy, W. B. Yeats, Osip Mandlestam, Robert Pinsky, Joseph Brodsky, Naguib Mafouz, Derek Walcott, Aimé Césaire and Sédar Senghor.

Please note: This class or event will be held online (using Zoom or a similar live platform). To participate, students or attendees should have a stable internet connection. Class participants: you should have a computer or device with a webcam and microphone; and your Zoom link will be automatically sent to you after you register. Check your spam box if you don't see it.

  • October 16
  • October 23
  • October 30
  • November 6

The MuseTeacher: Tom Yuill

Prerequisite: Open to poets with workshop experience