371 - 01: Special Topics in English and American Language and Literature
Modern and Contemporary Post-Religious Poetry
Meeting Times: MWF 12pm - 12:50pm
Registration Number: 3160
Modern and Contemporary Post-Religious Poetry:
The Works of Rainer Maria Rilke, Yehuda Amichai, Charles Wright, and Li-Young Lee
Two to three weeks will be spent on each of these four poets; during that time we will trace the development of his work and thought. The class will be expected to read a generous amount of poetry and be prepared to discuss individual works and even frame their relevance in the context of a poet?s entire body of work. All the while we will be fleshing out the similarities and differences between these writers, uncovering common symbols and themes. Issues of voice, subject matter, metaphor, symbol and ironic conceit will figure foremost in class discussions. A key problem that we will find ourselves returning to again and again, hopefully, is the persistent tension between metaphysical concerns and ethical/political ones. Is the writing of a contemplative poem, at its very root, a political act? When a poet asserts that the engagement of spiritual content is the main task of his or her aesthetics, the very definition of ?spiritual content? must be addressed. As it turns out, each of these four poets provides a broadly different answer to this problem?and I believe it will take a full semester to give these differences a careful and comprehensive assessment.
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