English 190

Research Seminar: Words and Bodies in Space: Poems for the Stage


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
14 Fall 2011 Bednarska, Dominika
Bednarska, Dominica
TTh 2-3:30 122 Wheeler

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A course reader

Description

This course focuses on bringing canonical modern and contemporary poetry on the page, in conversation with slam poetry, performance poetry and finally performance theory. Whether we are talking about Homer or the Beat poets, how a poem is spoken has always been perceived as part of its meaning. But how do the performed elements of the poem influence its meaning? What is the difference between reading a poem and performing a poem? How do poems change when they are performed on stage? Does hip-hop or the poetry slam transform the category of poetry? How do we combine poetry with other media such as dance, visual art, and music? In what ways is the text of the poem extended by the stage and embodiment? In what ways do these constrain poetry written for the page? How can we think more critically as writers about what it means for our work and ourselves to take the stage? We will begin the semester by examining modernist and contemporary writers such as William Carlos Williams, Gertrude Stein, Gwendolyn Brooks, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara, John Ashbury, Bernadette Mayer, Mark Doty, and others. We will then examine poetry written specifically for performance by looking at writers such as Miguel Pinero, Patricia Smith, Alix Olson, Edwin Torres, Hal Sirowitz, and Maggie Estap and others. Finally we will turn to writings about performance. Using work by Richard Schechner, Shannon Jackson, Erving Goffman, Marco de Marinis, Eve Sedgwick and others, we will utilize theory to examine our analysis of how these poems can change and emerge in space when performed on stage. In addition to academic papers and presentations, students may also have the option of performing their own work.

Please read the paragraph on page 2 of this Announcement of Classes for more details about enrolling in, or wait-listing for, this course.

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