Writing the World in Poetry

3559-101:
Discipline: English Literature (Genre Studies)
Instructor: Ramazani
Credits: 3



Field Work: Day 1 - Tuesday, 15 March | South Africa Download Syllabus

In this class, we will write poems stimulated by our experience in the countries and regions we are visiting and enriched by reading contemporary poems in English tied to those places. We will begin by In this class, we will write poems stimulated by our experience in the countries and regions we are visiting and enriched by reading contemporary poems in English tied to those places. We will begin by refreshing and deepening our knowledge of the poetry toolkit, discussing poetic forms, devices, and resources, from anaphora to zeugma. We will memorize and recite some favorite poetry to get it into our bodies. As we sail the Pacific, we will read and respond to poems by Hawaiian and Pacific Island poets, and upon departure from Hilo, you will try your hand at composing poems stimulated by our experience there and by poems from and about the region. We will follow a similar procedure as we sail to each of the rich variety of ports of call, from East Asia to West Africa. We will be attentive to the relevant world poetic forms, from Japanese haiku and tanka to South Asian ghazal and bhakti to African praise song and protest poetry. We will refine and develop our best poems in workshop discussions. There will be some assignments involving critical analysis of poetry. And there will also be a final exam that tests participants’ accumulated knowledge of the many poems and poetic forms from around the world.

Field Work

Country: South Africa
Day: 1 - Tuesday, 15 March

“South African Poets, Live.” We will meet with South African poets to discuss their writing practices and social perspectives. Meeting with poets from another part of the world who write in English, we will explore what similarities and differences they may have as compared with those of us writing poetry on the ship. The meeting is intended to help engage you in a high-level discussion of poetry, form, poetic theory, genre, publishing, politics and art, etc., ultimately to enhance your own writing and your understanding of its relation to the practices in another country. By hearing South African poets read their work and discuss their ideas, you may be inspired to write poems that come out of the depths of your own emotional, sensual, and intellectual experience, including the circumnavigation of the world. You will be evaluated according to the quality of your participation in the field lab, the poetry you produce after the lab, and the insights you provide in class in reflecting on the lab, altogether worth 20% of your grade.

Academic Objectives:
1. To engage in a high-level discussion of poetry, form, poetic theory, genre, publishing, and politics and art, with practicing poets.
2. To enhance your writing and your understanding of its relation to the writing practices in another country.
3. To inspire poems stimulated by hearing poets read their work and discussing it with them—poems that come out of your own emotional, sensual, and intellectual experience, including the circumnavigation of the world.