June 19, 2019–August 21, 2019
6 p.m.–8 p.m.
The Freedom of Restraint: The Joy and Paradox of Formal Poetry
Judith Barrington once said that her best work emerged "from between the scaffolding of a known form." This is the joy and paradox of writing in form: the formal poem's "rules" provide a safe framework and often force us to write things we couldn't have written without the form's parameters.
In essence, in order to meet the demands of the form, we find ourselves using grammar and syntax in new ways—we are forced to work toward extreme compression, to handle rhyme and repetition, and to think deeply about the interplay and sequencing of images. Forms, both open and closed, can be used as "vessels" to contain difficult material; and a knowledge of metrics will enrich our "free verse" poems because we have more language-working tools at our disposal.
During this class, suitable for poets of all levels, we'll examine, and experiment with, some of the traditional forms that are part of our inheritance and explore how the shattering of traditional grammar and syntax (a conscious formal choice) can give voice to experiences that often seem "beyond words." Class is a mix of reading, discussion, writing and sharing of work.
No class 7/17.