ENGLISH 424 - Advanced Poetry Writing
Section: 001 Chasing the Utopian Turtletop
Term: WN 2018
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Credits:
3
Requirements & Distribution:
ULWR
Waitlist Capacity:
unlimited
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
Repeatability:
May be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

At the end of 1955, Marianne Moore submitted her 43rd and final proposal to the Ford Motor Company, which had asked her help in arriving at a name for its new series of cars. Her magnificent, un-Edsel-like idea: Utopian Turtletop. (Moore had written earlier that she felt “complimented to be recruited in this high matter,” and that she would confer with her brother, who would “bring ardor and imagination to bear on the quest.”) After Moore’s final proposal, Ford sent her a floral arrangement of roses, white pine, and spiral eucalyptus. The accompanying card read, “TO OUR FAVORITE TURTLETOPPER.”

Now it’s sixty years later, but the stakes remain the same. My hope is that we’ll spend the semester chasing down the thing within ourselves that makes us distinctive as writers. It’s difficult to imagine a poet other than Moore coming up with Utopian Turtletop—or, for that matter, Mongoose Civique and The Intelligent Bullet, two of Moore’s other proposals. By 1955, Moore had spent four decades cultivating her sense of sound and imagery; we’ll have only three months. But that should be enough time to get us started (or further along) on what really, for writers, is a lifelong quest—a quest that requires dedication, curiosity, and, not least, ardor and imagination. In his introduction to Moore’s Selected Poems (1935), T. S. Eliot wrote, “Miss Moore is, I believe, one of those few who have done the language some service in my lifetime.” Perhaps that should be our aim: not acclaim, not the settling of accounts, but doing the language some service.

Texts will include two anthologies, several recently published poetry and essay collections, and a course packet.

Note: Students who are currently a declared creative-writing minor or English sub-concentrator will receive alternative enrollment instructions in an email. Creative-writing minors and English sub-concentrators are not required to submit a portfolio for review.

To enroll in this course, non-creative writing minors and subconcentrators need to:

1. Submit a portfolio. Portfolio requirements vary from section to section, so contact instructors directly for their specific guidelines. Portfolios are usually between 5-15 pages of original relevant work (short stories, excerpts, poems) and should be submitted directly to the instructor of each section. For priority consideration, portfolios should be submitted no later than 5pm on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Students should receive notification of their acceptance (or not) no later than Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Students may still submit portfolios after the priority deadline until seats are full.

2. Students are encouraged to consider a second-choice section (where available) as a potential back-up.

Course Requirements:

We’ll treat this workshop as a workshop, by which I mean we’ll try out different tools, different methods, for advancing our craft. We’ll memorize and recite poems; we’ll imitate the works of others; we’ll practice (like a carpenter with his sander, an artist with her sketchpad, a clarinetist with her scales). We’ll usually write two pieces a week: one springing from a prompt, one from someplace else. (The muse? The pineal gland?) And we’ll prioritize, in our discussions, process over finished product. (Paul Valéry: “A work is never completed except by some accident such as weariness, satisfaction, the need to deliver, or death: for, in relation to who or what is making it, it can only be one stage in a series of inner transformations.”)

Class Format:

Workshop and discussion.

ENGLISH 424 - Advanced Poetry Writing
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
P
18839
Open
18
 
-
Tu 4:00PM - 7:00PM
Note: Note: Students who are currently a declared creative-writing minor or English sub-concentrator will receive alternative enrollment instructions in an email. Creative-writing minors and English sub-concentrators are not required to submit a portfolio for review. To enroll in this course, non-creative writing minors and subconcentrators need to: 1. Submit a portfolio. Portfolio requirements vary from section to section, so contact instructors directly for their specific guidelines. Portfolios are usually between 5-15 pages of original relevant work (short stories, excerpts, poems) and should be submitted directly to the instructor of each section. For priority consideration, portfolios should be submitted no later than 5pm on Tuesday, December 5, 2017. Students should receive notification of their acceptance (or not) no later than Tuesday, December 12, 2017. Students may still submit portfolios after the priority deadline until seats are full. 2. Students are encouraged to consider a second-choice section (where available) as a potential back-up.
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