English 143B


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Spring 2020 Matuk, Farid
TTh 2-3:30 104 Dwinelle

Book List

Cha, Teresa Hak Kyung: Dictee; Duncan, Robert: Selected Poems; Holiday, Harmony: Hollywood Forever


As some would have it, the field of verse can be organized into poems and non-poems, poets and non-poets. In this schema poets are individuals who bear responsibility for the asethetic choices that produce poems, and poems are things that instruct and delight, while non-poets are artists who train themselves to receive energies, and the texts they offer as a record of that contact care, primarily, to reveal what a person is.

To test that theory, and to see if we might develop alternative orders, this course will follow the work of three Berkeley-identified writers—Robert Duncan, Teresa Hak Kyung Cha, and Harmony Holiday. Beyond having studied at or graduated from Cal (Holiday took more than one section of English 143B), all three writers share a practice of grounding their work in relation to continually evolving archives.

With their examples in mind, this course asks you to amass and share a personal archive that includes traces of where you come from and that, perhaps, points to where you're headed. This archive can include print and digital images, video and audio recordings, personal or public texts. You can think of your archive as personal and cultural, bound to your lifetime or inclusive of ancestors. We'll explore commonly accessible digital platforms such as Google Drive and Tumblr to house and share these burgeoning archives.

Duncan, Cha, and Holiday used strategies that included fixed verse forms, performance, video art, and real-time improvisation to write with and through their archives. You'll choose from anong these approaches and hopefully devise a few of your own as you create original works that emerge from and extend your archives. Our class meetings will include reading, discussion, writing in response to prompts and critiques of work in progress. Your work will culminate in a portfolio in a form determined by your curiosities and concerns.

Only continuing, upper-division UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 pages of your poems (any combination of long or short poems or fragments of poems, the total length not exceeding five pages), by clicking on the link below; fill out the application you'll find there and attach the writing sample as a Word document or .rtf file. The deadine for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 31.

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