English 243B

Poetry Writing Workshop

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2020 Giscombe, Cecil S.
TTh 2-3:30


In this semester's 243B we'll be actively fielding questions around environmentally conscious/location-oriented writing.

Some beginnings:

From Jonathan Skinner's introduction to the Ecopoetics section of the Cambridge anthology American Literature in Transition, 2000-2010: "Ultimately, 'Ecopoetics' may be more productively approached as a discursive site, to which many different kinds of poetry can contribute, than as the precinct of a particular kind of 'eco' poetry." And then he asks the important question—"How, then, does an individual's sense of the larger Earth enter into an endeavor made small in the face of overbearing world-ecological forces?"

And Camile Dungy, in her introduction to the Black Nature poetry anthology, wrote, "I have to remember what has been said: I am black and female; no place is for my pleasure... How do I write a poem about the land and my place in it without remembering, without shaping my words around, the history I belong to, the history that belongs to me?"

And Brian Teare, in "Poetry as Fieldwork," wrote, "One of the commitments I make to any site I walk through while writing is to learn as much as I can about it: its natural history, its flora and fauna, its geology, its hydrology, all the layers of empirical knowledge that get laid down by Western culture on top of the land."

Text: Geopoetics in Practice, edited by by Eric Magrane, Linda Russo, Sarah de Leeuw, and Craig Santos Perez.  Published 2020 by Routledge.  

A course reader will include work by A. R. Ammons, Gloria Anzaldua, Basho, Ed Roberson, and others.

Field trips, class visitors, writing workshops, weekly prompts, journal work, public performance.

Only continuing, graduate-level UC Berkeley students are eligible to apply for this course. To be considered for admission, please electronically submit 5 of your poems, 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 deadline for completing this application process is 11 PM, THURSDAY, APRIL 30.

Applicants will be informed, by email, of the results of their applications by May 31.

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