From July 14-18
In his 1917 essay, “Tradition and the Individual Talent,” T.S. Eliot argues: “No poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists.” This injunction is not merely a standard to which Eliot believed artists should hold themselves; rather, it is an invitation to experience the pleasure of becoming part of the larger literary conversation, one that is ongoing and, indeed, transcends time. Naturally, many writers wonder if they’ve been invited in the first place. The purpose of this course is to demonstrate, through writing exercises that respond to several models, that everyone has a place at this table. From Federico Garcia Lorca’s theory of “The Duende,” to Audre Lorde’s essays-as-warning that “The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House,” we will make our entry into this provocative conversation via our own creative work: What is the function of poetry in our current age? How do our own poems respond to the literary past and present? While exploring a variety of literary modes, we will consistently turn our focus toward technique, making ample use of lessons learned for the poems we create for the class.
About Cate Marvin:
Cate Marvin is the author of Fragment of the Head of a Queen and World’s Tallest Disaster both published on Sarabande Books. World’s Tallest Disaster was selected by Robert Pinksky for the Kathryn A. Morton Prize and also received the Kate Tuft’s Discovery Award. She was honored with a Whiting Award for Fragment of the Head of a Queen and was a 2007 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow. She teaches in many places including Columbia University’s MFA program and is the co-founder of VIDA, the organization of Women in Literary Publishing.