Contemporary Poetry: Uncommon Citizens Spring 2019
(Contemporary Poetry: Uncommon Citizens Spring 2019)

William Carlos Williams argued that it’s “difficult to get the news from poems” yet people “die miserably every day for lack of what is found there.” Can poems help? Do we get information, or ideas, or even pleasure from reading poems? What can they tell us about the human condition, the artistic impulse, the thudding in our heads? Can a poem put a reader in the shoes of someone from another age group? How do poets engage with eternal poetic themes and contemporary conflicts? Nightingales and non-avian tweets? What can a poet’s exploration of gender, class, race, ethnic or religious background tell us about our own lives? In this class we will read poems for what they continue to be: news of the inner life, news of that other life we live as uncommon citizens of the human race. Texts Include: Imtiez Dhakar, Gregory Djanikian, Carol Ann Duffy, W.S. Merwin, Deirdre O'Connor, Greg Pardlo, Claudia Rankin, Anne Simpson.