Week 1 Thursday May 17
Class meeting in Mark’s office. Introduction to the tutorial method and developing a plan for the intellectual work in the course. A tutorial is essentially a regular meeting between a teacher and one or several students for discussion. Our meetings will be organized by the questions that come up in your reading, thinking, and writing about poems. We will also look at three poems by Li Po (701–62) from The Selected Poems of Li Po and Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology, translated by David Hinton, and three poems by Gary Snyder (1930–)
For next time: Read in David Hinton’s anthology The Wilds of Poetry: Adventures in Mind and Landscape (2017): “These Very Wilds,” 1–14, “Procreant Wilds: Walt Whitman,” 15-24, and “Itself Wilds,” 311–17. Also read the blog post An Introduction to Ecopoetics. Follow the links to any reading that intrigues you and consider using material in this post (or linked to the post) in your first piece of writing. Write a 1000–1500 word commentary on the materials you are reading. Introduce yourself and others to what is interesting and that raises questions for our discussion. Organize the essay around an idea, provide evidence from the readings or other materials, and consider your presence as an engaged writer sharing literary and cultural material with an audience beyond our tutorial
Week 2 Thursday May 24
Tuesday May 22
Send Mark, by the end of the day, your essay on the readings. Essay #1: Write a 1000–1500 word commentary on the materials you are reading. Introduce yourself and others to what is interesting and that raises questions for our discussion. Organize the essay around an idea, provide evidence from the readings or other materials, and consider your presence as an engaged writer sharing literary and cultural material with an audience beyond our tutorial
Thursday: May 24
We will work through the materials in David Hinton’s anthology The Wilds of Poetry: Adventures in Mind and Landscape (2017): “These Very Wilds,” 1–14 and “Itself Wilds,” 311–17. The blog post An Introduction to Ecopoetics will also provide us with material for making sense of this tradition of thinking and writing
Our focus on poems this week will be the poetry of Walt Whitman. Hinton’s “Procreant Wilds: Walt Whitman,” 15-24, is an important part of his book and Whitman is a poet that set in motion the radical changes in poetry and poetics that would follow. In addition to the excerpts from The Wilds of Poetry is a poem from Leaves of Grass This Compost that will help us with getting at Whitman’s transformative presence. Either this week or next, spend some time in the Walt Whitman Archive. You can look at the six US editions of Leaves of Grass. The 1855 edition (that includes the utterly fascinating democratic poetics he elaborates in the Preface) and the 1891-92 edition will give you an experience of the poem (and other poems) that are not represented in the excerpted fragments in Hinton’s anthology. Finally, find some space in your schedule to experience Jennifer Crandall’s recent documentary project, Whitman, Alabama, for an example of Whitman’s continuing presence in our culture.
For next time: Read introduction and poems in “China Wilds | Ezra Pound,” 25–38; “Local Wilds | William Carlos Williams,” 39–56; “Coastal Wilds | Robinson Jeffers,” 57–74; “Mountain Wilds | Kenneth Rexroth,” 75–90
Week 3 Tuesday May 29
Tuesday May 29
Please note that this week we are conducting our face-to-face meeting on Tuesday
Due Tuesday by the end of the day: Essay #2 on Whitman’s poems: work from the premise, one version of which we find in Hinton’s anthology, that “When Whitman reinvented language as the voice of the body, he reinvented identity as embodied and organic and integral to the earth” (16). The essay you write will focus on how a poem (or poems) by Whitman exemplify this radical poetic and philosophical innovation. As we discussed in class, consider the essay as an opportunity to draw in your skills as an English major; but also take into account a public audience. “Literature is news that stays news,” Ezra Pound once said. Your essay will wrestle with Whitman’s language (innovation) and ideas (identity as embodied and organic and integral) and share the news that is fit to publish in your blog.
Discussion of readings: introduction and poems in “China Wilds | Ezra Pound,” 25–38; “Local Wilds | William Carlos Williams,” 39–56; “Coastal Wilds | Robinson Jeffers,” 57–74; “Mountain Wilds | Kenneth Rexroth,” 75–90
During class we will begin mapping out the longer writing project that will be due on Thursday June 21. The writing project can take multiple forms, and can be a longer piece of writing or a series of shorter, interrelated pieces. During this class session we will be working on surfacing questions associated with the poems we are reading and the commentary on what David Hinton calls “the wilds of poetry,” or the ideas associated with practice of “ecopoetry”
Reading for next time: “Mind Wilds | Charles Olson,” 91–116; “No-Mind Wilds | John Cage,” 117–134; Wild Wilds | Gary Snyder,” 135–156; and “Mammal Wilds | Michael McClure,” 157–178
Week 4 Thursday June 7
Due Tuesday by the end of the day: Essay #3 on the reading you have done in the course; this can be about a poem, a series of poems, or a discussion of multiple poems and statements about poetry.
Thursday we will discuss “Mind Wilds | Charles Olson,” 91–116; “No-Mind Wilds | John Cage,” 117–134; Wild Wilds | Gary Snyder,” 135–156; and “Mammal Wilds | Michael McClure,” 157–178
Due Thursday and Essay #4 that articulates and begins to explore the question that you will use to organize your work in the next three weeks.
For next time: Readings and activities TBA
Week 5 Thursday June 14
“Poetry is a verbal means to a nonverbal source”
–A. R. Ammons, A Poem is a Walk
This week we will discuss to projects and selected poems: “Nameless Wilds” | W. S. Merwin, 203–20 and “Meaningless Wilds” | A. R. Ammons, 221–40. Mark will bring A. R. Ammons’ long poems, including his first, Tape for the Turn of the Year and his most well-known, Garbage
Due Thursday by noon: the first version of your final project for the course. We will spend most of our classroom time in workshop mode so that I can offer substantive commentary on each of your projects and so that you can learn from one another about pulling together a project in the course
For next time: Readings and activities TBA
Week 6 Thursday June 21
Due Thursday: Final Writing Project
Work on your projects: in our workshop this week I recommended focusing the essays or sections of your essay with direct statements that make clear the mind and landscape/ecopoetic significance of the poems under discussion. Remember that even though you may be profiling a body of work by a poet the poet him or herself is important as the biographical or cultural context help to illuminate the primary purpose of what you are doing: explaining and analyzing mind-poetry-landscape.
Please be in touch with drafts or questions about organizing and presenting information. Please also consider and take advantage of the affordances of the blog to present your work (putting material on pages, writing an introduction or abstract as a static landing page for your blog/portfolio/site.
By Tuesday or Wednesday, choose and then send to Mark three poems that you will read / introduce for discussion at our final class meeting. These will be poems concerned with mind and landscape in one way or another, either from your project or that you believe are relevant to the work we are doing together. I will post the poems on the blog. You can either send the poem or a link to the poem if there is a digital version available.
The final blog/portfolio/site for your work this summer session is due on Thursday. However, if you would like, I am happy to do a final review of your completed work on Thursday and give you a manageable list of considerations/strategies for a final revision to be due on Friday at the end of the day. If you want to have me do this final review make sure that you have completed the project on your blog by noon on Thursday so that I have time to read and comment on your work.