We’ll launch the semester with a month of intensive reading of contemporary poetic sequences – lyrical, narrative, and collage – and with a little discussion of method. 'Discussion' of method will include deriving writing exercises from the poems we're reading. The remainder of the semester will be workshop. We’ll start with workshop of individual poems or passages from your works in progress, including your responses to exercises. You may work on a single long sequence or on a number of self-contained collages. If class size permits, we’ll finish with discussions of whole sequences. No analytic writing will be assigned, but you will be asked to lead at least one discussion of our reading early in the semester.
On the first night we will talk about the poles of possibility under the heading “Sequence and Collage,” and we’ll do so by comparing Robert Hayden’s “Middle Passage,” Adrienne Rich’s “Twenty-One Love Poems” and two poems by Marianne Moore – “Marriage” and “An Octopus.” All are widely available; please read or reread them before the semester begins and bring them to class on the first night.
Your grade will be based on your writing (40%), your engagement with the readings & exercises (20%), and your participation in workshop (20%).
Reading Schedule Books ordered at GMU book store
Week 1. Jan 24. A list of sequences & collages
Charles Altieri on collage
Week 2. Jan 31.
Maggie Nelson: Jane.
Week 3. Feb 7.
Peter Streckfus: "The Organum," in The Cuckoo.
Waldrop: A Key into the Language of
Note: It's Jan 4 & the bookstore says
they can't get the Waldrop book, so you may want to start looking for
it on your own.
4. Feb 14
Snyder: Myths & Texts
"Landscapes" in Landscapes and
Legacies. This book will be distributed free in class.
5. Feb 21.
Semezdin Mehmedinovic: "Nine Alexandrias," in Nine Alexandrias
Mullen: Muse & Drudge.
The bookstore says a new edition of Mullen is coming out, maybe around the 1st of Feb. You may want to find your own copy in the meantime.
Books Ordered at GMU Book Store:
Clerk’s Tale. Mariner/Houghton Mifflin, 2004.
Maggie Nelson. Jane. Soft Skull Press, 2005. 1932360719.
Key into the Language of
Gary Snyder. Gary Snyder. Myths & Texts. New Directions.
Harryette Mullen. Muse & Drudge. Singing Horse Press, 1995. 0-935162-15-1.
Mehmedinović. Nine Alexandrias. City Lights Books, 2003.
619: 001: Special Topics in Writing:
George Mason University
George Mason University
English 619:002Spring 2006
David King Hall 2054
Robinson A 455A
R 5:30-6:45 &
Our Writing Exercises