Achtung: Der Kurs beginnt erst in der zweiten Semesterwoche. (Erster Termin: 24.10.2018)
In this course, we will explore North American poetry from various perspectives, looking for multiple entry points and ways to engage in a literary form that can be very spontaneous on the one hand and extremely formalized on the other; thereby drawing different readers’ and listeners’ responses—from impulsively joining in the rhythm to pondering about the power of metaphor and prosody. We will look at poetry as an expressive form that seeks dialogue with its audience as well with its cultural and historical contexts.
Leading questions for the seminar are: (1) How does a poem highlight the powers of language? Which (kinds of) language and which languages find entry into poetry? What is the relationship between voice and silence in a poem? (2) How can poetry be a medium for cultural memory? How can it help explore histories that have been silenced and oppressed, like those of indigenous cultures, or defining moments in African American history (slavery and the Middle Passage), or of women and LGBTQ? (3) How is poetry itself remembered in poetry? How, and to which effect, are the voices of Phillis Wheatley, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson kept alive over the centuries? (4) How does the poem invite us as contemporary readers to engage? While some poems suggest a quiet, individual reading, other poems call for some kind of performance, a sharing of the text, its rhythm and voice. Where do poetry and music merge? Poetry and painting?
Students will engage through individual preparations of poems, through reflections of class discussions, through reviews of poetry collections, readings, and performances, as well as through creative exercises. Excursions to readings and/or poetry slams will be one important part of the seminar (to be specified later this year).
As future teachers, students will refine their sensibility for language and its politics, and learn to adequately describe and analyze poetic forms. They will find poetry a great medium to discuss questions of difference, alterity, the multiplicity of histories, of canon-building and of positionality – questions that they will need to able to address in the classroom. Classroom exercises and assignments will give them ideas of how poetry can be taught in school.
A reader with primary and secondary readings will be made available in the first session.