Staying With It: A Five-Day Meditation in Poetry for Fall

Staying With It: A Five-Day Meditation in Poetry for Fall

Fred Marchant
October 2 to October 6, 2017
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1-Week Intensive

In this one-week intensive online course we will begin a new poem and stay with it for the whole five days, the goal being to nurture and expand that poem into an extended meditation. We will consider what a meditative poem is and does, and why one might want to write one. We will study the many ways a poem might be sustained, opened up, and expanded. We will listen to what the poem itself is suggesting about where the next steps are. We will consider how one constructs and works with sequences of poetry. We will explore the ways in which one might sustain a unity within increasingly diverse elements of a poem as it unfolds over time. For example, we will examine the way hybrid forms, variant dictions, dissonant topics, and idiosyncratic rhetorical stances might point to new energies and possibilities. You will be asked on a daily basis to post new elements of your poem as it unfolds, and you will all be invited to read and respond to the work that is posted. In addition, we will read and discuss meditative poems and/or poetic sequences by such writers as Anne Carson, Martha Collins, Nick Flynn, Jorie Graham, Robert Hass, Seamus Heaney, Brenda Hillman, Czeslaw Milosz, Claudia Rankine, Kevin Young, and Natasha Trethewey, among others. By the end of our week together you should have not only a grounding in the poetics of sustained meditation, you should also have a poem that in itself bears witness to the virtues of "staying with it." At the end of the class I'll email each student with thoughts about your work and individualized ideas for going forward.


FRED MARCHANT’s most recent collection of poetry, Said Not Said was published by Graywolf Press in May 2017. He is also the author of four earlier books of poetry, and has edited Another World Instead, a selection of the early works of William Stafford, also from Graywolf. In addition, he has co-translated works by the contemporary Vietnamese poets, Tran Dang Khoa and Vo Que. He is a professor emeritus of English and Founding Director of the Poetry Center at Suffolk University in Boston.

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