It is really hard to write funny. It’s even harder to write funny with substance and pathos. But in this class, we’ll look at several poems that succeed at being funny in different ways – some by unlikely juxtapositions, some by satire, some by the ways they create, fulfill, and subvert reader’s expectations, some by story, some by fresh use of formal strategies, some by the sheer giddiness of language. And we’ll attempt several different strategies for humor, keeping in mind that humor is a way we manage the dark, the scary, the politically infurating, the personally enraging, the complicated, and the absurd realities of life. I can’t promise you’ll always be funny after this, but I can promise it’ll be the most fun homework you’ve ever done.
Rebecca Lindenberg is the author of Love, An Index (McSweeney’s 2012) and The Logan Notebooks (Center for Literary Publishing 2014), which won the 2015 Utah Book Award. She’s the recipient of an Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Grant, a fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and residencies at the MacDowell Arts Colony and the Sewanee Writers Conference. Her work appears in Poetry, The Believer, Diagram, Smartish Pace, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. She is a member of the Poetry Faculty at the University of Cincinnati, and the Queens University of Charlotte Low-Residency MFA Program. She lives in Cincinnati with her big kid and her little cat.