Neighboring Solitudes: The Poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke as Generative Sources for Poems
In this workshop course, we will write poems based on some of the major themes present in the poems of the great German-language Modernist poet Rainer Maria Rilke. As a poet and thinker Rilke returned to a handful of ideas which he incorporated into his poems over the course of many years. During our time together, we will look at English translations of a number of his greatest poems that examine the themes of death and resurrection, his concept of “das Offene,” ("the Openness"), his “Ding-Gedichte,” or “Thing-poems,” and his pairing of the Duino Elegies with the Sonnets to Orpheus. Each week there will be a writing prompt based on Rilke’s poetics aimed at sparking the generation of your own poems. The course will also consist of readings of Rilke’s poems, and lecture/essays from me on the poems and their thematic forces. We will then engage in an online discussion of your work that is supportive, humane and critically acute. All readings will be in English with German text provided as well.
Mark Wunderlich is the author of The Anchorage, which received the Lambda Literary Award, Voluntary Servitude (Graywolf, 2004) and The Earth Avails, forthcoming from Graywolf. He is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Wallace Stegner Program at Stanford, as well as two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center. He has taught in the graduate writing programs at Columbia, Sarah Lawrence, San Francisco State and Ohio University, and currently teaches writing and literature at Bennington College. He lives in New York’s Hudson Valley.