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POET 40 W — Poetry Workshop: Finding Inspiration in Life’s Contradictions

Quarter: Summer
Instructor(s): Austin Araujo
Duration: 10 weeks
Format/Location: Flex Online
Date(s): Jun 24—Aug 30
Class Recording Available: Yes
Tuition: $1000
Refund Deadline: Jun 27
 
Unit(s): 3
   
Enrollment Limit: 19
  
Status: Open
 
Quarter: Summer
Unit(s): 3
Duration: 10 weeks
 
Date(s): Jun 24—Aug 30
 
Format/Location: Flex Online
 
Tuition: $1000
 
Refund Deadline: Jun 27
 
Instructor(s): Austin Araujo
 
Enrollment Limit: 19
 
Recording Available: Yes
 
Status: Open
 
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)

—Walt Whitman

Like Whitman, we all contain multitudes, and poetry is the perfect form to express contradictions both within us and in the world around us. Poems allow us to perceive what’s beautiful in ordinary existence and find what is heartening within devastation. This course will emphasize the writer’s task of transforming one’s often contradictory feelings, memories, and questions into poetry. We will ask ourselves: How do we convert experience into language that can challenge, console, and embolden us to view the world anew? We will test the capacities of the tools of poetry—especially image, repetition, and form—to hold our encounters with the world.

To work toward these goals, we will study poems and essays by poets such as Pablo Neruda, Nikky Finney, Robert Hayden, and Tracy K. Smith, for the manner in which they can expand one small detail of daily life into a recital of song and surprise. We will use these readings and weekly poetic exercises as models for how to successfully transform the contradictions and mundane aspects of life into poetry. Students will turn in a total of five poems or lyric experiments, putting them up for peer and instructor feedback.

AUSTIN ARAUJO
Poet; Former Stegner Fellow, Stanford

Austin Araujo's work has appeared in Gulf Coast, Poetry, TriQuarterly, The Missouri Review, and Quarterly West, among others. He has taught creative writing at Indiana University, where he received an MFA in poetry and was awarded an Academy of American Poets Prize, and at Stanford, where he was a Stegner Fellow.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.