Towards a Documentary Poetics
Paisley Rekdal’s hands-on class is designed to help you explore the very special challenges poets face when writing documentary poetry. Whether you are expressing individual occurrences or a series of events, this class will focus primarily on developing new techniques and exercises for the creation of a longer series of compelling poems.
What is a documentary poetics, and how can a poem suggest, if not actually become, a collection of “facts”? How might a poem, or a series of poems, become spaces that respond to traumatic events? Who gets to document, who is documented, and what are the formal (and ethical) issues inherent to documentary poetics? This class will give you a hands-on approach to these issues and more while helping you create poems that explore the ever-changing field of documentary poetry. Students will read and respond to assigned poems, read mini lectures online as to the evolving history of documentary poetics, as well as write their own poems for classroom comment; there will be a one-on-one Skype session with the instructor after the class. This is a class for those interested in engaging with longer, perhaps research-based material and subject matters, or for those interested in working on a poetic series.
Paisley Rekdal is the author of a book of essays, The Night My Mother Met Bruce Lee and four books of poetry, A Crash of Rhinos, Six Girls Without Pants, The Invention of the Kaleidoscope, and Animal Eye. A hybrid photo-text memoir that combines poems, nonfiction and fiction entitled Intimate has just been published by Tupelo. Her work has received a Village Voice Writers on the Verge Award, an NEA Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the University of Georgia Press’ Contemporary Poetry Series Award, a Fulbright Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Fellowship. Her poems and essays have appeared in or are forthcoming from The New York Times Magazine, American Poetry Review, The Kenyon Reivew, Poetry, Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, Best American Poetry 2012, and on National Public Radio among others.