What is the responsibility of the poet in times of public mourning? Why is it that we turn to poetry during periods of tragedy or deep sorrow? In this course we will be in conversation with how poetry informs our public & private responses to loss & interrogate the poet’s position as empath, archivist, & town crier. If it is that the poet has a unique responsibility in times of crisis, then how do we ensure our poems are wrought to endure? Together, we will look toward our own history—the pastoral, the eulogy, & the elegy in particular—to construct new fusions of form, content, & figurative language as potential access points to contemplate the ways absence creates presence & explores how grief can often look suspiciously like desire. We will read from a diverse collection of poets, including Terrance Hayes, Tarfia Faizullah, Natasha Tretheway, and Natalie Diaz, in order to both build & dismantle our definition of the elegy.
In addition to submitting work, you will be expected to comment on 1-2 of your classmates’ experiments daily. At the end of the course, I will conduct one-on-one conversations with each student via email to discuss further revisions and how to move forward.
Meg Day is the 2015-2016 recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship, a 2013 recipient of an NEA Fellowship in Poetry, and the author of Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street 2014), winner of the Barrow Street Poetry Prize and the Publishing Triangle’s Audre Lorde Award. Day is Assistant Professor of English & Creative Writing at Franklin & Marshall College and lives in Lancaster, PA