June 17, 2019–July 15, 2019
6 p.m.–8 p.m.
The Role of Humor in Poetry
Do you ever laugh to keep yourself from crying, or crack jokes when you’re uncomfortable? Has your mother or former lover complained about your inability to take anything seriously?
In this class, we'll look at how humor is used in poetry, going in depth about theories on humor and how to repurpose them for use in our poems, and we'll have weekly humor based writing prompts to generate new work. We'll also discuss strategies for using humor, the importance of connecting to and building trust with your reader, and how to use humor as the entry point to subjects that might not be humorous at all.
We'll examine poems that use humor, not as a way to make the reader laugh, but as a way to grant the reader access to the speaker’s psychology. Along the way, we will consider how humor itself is actually developed, how it affects our ability to anticipate, and how we might pivot away from it to produce moments of surprise or points of tonal contrast. Humor in writing is often something people consider intimidating; in this class, we'll approach humor less like a natural trait a person need to possess, and more like an equation each person can apply to their own writing. Poets up for discussion might include Fatimah Asghar, francine j harris, Danez Smith, Dean Young and others.