March 04, 2007

English 270
exPEERiMENTAL: a poetry workshop

January 17

January 24 and 31
Each presenting poet submits somewhere between 1-10 pages of work to be discussed. This exercise probably works best if this work is either a single poem or a connected series of poems.

Mapping poets in the workshop are to make some sort of map or chart of the work of the presenting poets. By map I mean some sort of visual representation that might help the author to resee what they are doing. I’ve given you some examples on the online reserve for this class from Helen Vendler’s close readings of Shakespeare’s sonnets but there are many ways to do this assignment, so find your own way. Bring in 10 copies of each map you make.

January 24
poetone presenting, poets two and seven mapping
poettwo presenting, poets three and eight mapping
poetthree presenting, poets six and one mapping
poetfive presenting, poets eight and nine mapping

January 31
poetsix presenting, poets seven and two mapping
poetseven presenting, poets five and ten mapping
poeteight presenting, poets one and six mapping
poetnine presenting, poets ten and five mapping
poetten presenting, poets nine and three mapping

February 7 and 21
Each participant will bring in some work, somewhere between 1-10 pages, that either needs more or needs less. Respondents will then either cut ten things from the work and discuss why they did this. Or they will make a list of ten things they would add to the work and discuss why. Respondents decide whether to cut or add, not authors. Respondents should bring in 10 copies of their response.

February 7
poetten, poetone cutting or adding
poetnine, poettwo cutting or adding
poeteight, poetthree cutting or adding
poetseven, poeteight cutting or adding

February 13

February 21
poetsix, poetfive cutting or adding
poetfive, poetsix cutting or adding
poetthree, poetseven cutting or adding
poettwo, poetnine cutting or adding
poetone, poetten cutting or adding

February 28 and March 7
Participants are to bring in some work, however many pages that they find most appropriate at this moment. And with their work they should submit copies of some other piece of writing by someone else--an essay (a short one or an excerpt from a longer essay) or a poem or a news article or something that they feel illuminates or gives another perspective to their work. They should also fill out and submit one of Robert Duncan’s influence maps for their work as a whole (not just the work they are submitting).

Each participant in the workshop is to respond by supplying copies of some other piece of writing (or an excerpt from this writing) by someone else that they feel illuminates or gives another perspective to the poet’s work and also a paragraph where they explain why they chose the piece they chose. Participants should bring in 10 copies of both the suggested piece of writing and their response. (This assignment stolen from comments made by Laurel deCou and Elizabeth Anderson.)

February 28
poetone presenting, poetfive suggesting additional reading
poettwo presenting, poetone suggesting additional reading
poetthree presenting, poetten suggesting additional reading
poetfive presenting, poettwo suggesting additional reading

March 7
poetsix presenting, poetthree suggesting additional reading
poetseven presenting, poetnine suggesting additional reading
poeteight presenting, poetseven suggesting additional reading
poetnine presenting, poetsix suggesting additional reading
poetten presenting, poeteight suggesting additional reading

March 14 and March 28
Bring in a big chunk of your work. Around thirty pages. Maybe more. Respondents are to go through this work and create an index or glossary or outline. This index or glossary should be creative and illuminative, not merely representative. See the Thalia Field and Joshua Clover examples on online reserve. Respondents should bring in 10 copies of their index or whateva. (This assignment stolen from comments by Jacob Eichert.)

March 14
poetone presenting, poetsix indexing
poettwo presenting, poetfive indexing
poetthree presenting, poettwo indexing
poetfive presenting, poetthree indexing
poetsix presenting, poetten indexing

March 21
spring break

March 28
poetseven presenting, poetone indexing
poeteight presenting, poetnine indexing
poetnine presenting, poeteight indexing
poetten presenting, poetseven indexing

April 4

April 11 and 18
Because everyone should know everyone’s work by now, we will this time around just respond to it. Each respondent is to design an “experiment” or a “process” or an “exercise” or some sort of “machine” that should produce a poem in the style of the poets to whom they are responding. The exercises should be doable and also works of art in themselves. They might also function as gifts. I would suggest reading Jackson MacLow’s “Make Your Own Experiment” and also the Bernadette Mayer and Charles Bernstein experiments lists for inspiration. Again, bring in 10 copies.

April 11
poetone responds to poetthree and poeteight
poettwo responds to poetten and poetseven
poetthree responds to poetnine and poetfive
poetfive responds to poetseven and poetone

April 18
poetsix responds to poeteight and nine
poetseven responds to poetsix and poettwo
poeteight responds to poetfive and poetten
poetnine responds to poetone and poetthree
poetten responds to poettwo and poetsix

April 25 and May 2
I’m still figuring this out due to date miscalculation. At some point, I’d like to have a discussion about what sorts of feedback might be useful for you.

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