ENGL 597 Politics of Poetic Form
Professor: Laura Neuman
Meetings: June 12-July 7, 2023
Mondays, 5:00-7:45 PM: Asynchronous – time to work on reading, writing. Tuesdays, 5:00-7:45 PM: Synchronous – meet online for live seminar. Thursdays, 5:00-7:45 PM: Synchronous – meet for group work and online for live seminar during this time. No in-person meetings on campus.
Contemporary poets claim experimental techniques such as interruption, disruption, rupture, fragmentation, swerve, paradox, and ambiguity can be used to radical ends – to resist normative, habitual ways of making sense, for instance, or to offer radical political critiques of social, political and economic systems. In poetry, claims of an alignment between a political stance and a formal technique run both ways: narrative poets working with the lyric, for instance, have been accused of selling out, or selling trauma to their listeners, while failing to transform the underlying conditions according to which their readers understand such traumas to take place. Meanwhile, experimental poets are often accused of burying their messages behind obscure and overly difficult techniques, creating work that is illegible, inaccessible to all but a privileged few, and thus not politically effective. In this graduate seminar, we’ll consider poems and poetics from various sides of this quandary. Is there an alignment between politics and form? When they do align, what factors, historically or contextually, might be at play? Why have poets so long claimed a politics to aesthetic choices? When do such claims serve or undermine poems or their readers? These questions will be the focus of our inquiry.
ENGL 670 Literature of Science
Professor: Mindi McMann
Meetings: July 17-August 5, 2023
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, 5:30-8:00; Wednesdays asynchronous assignments. No in-person meetings on campus.
This graduate seminar explores the intersections of science and literature, focusing specifically on how we tell stories about science, human (and other) bodies, and biotechnology. Some questions we will consider are: What can fiction tell us about how we understand science and technology? How does science affect our understandings of subjectivity and what constitutes a person? What role does the body play in our understandings of science, and how do these new understandings impact how we tell stories about those bodies and their role in our society? What may separate distinctly human experiences from the experiences of others deemed less than human often by both literary and scientific discourses? To begin answering these questions, we will read theorists such as Donna Harroway and Bruno Latour, and authors such as Octavia Butler, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Julio Cortazar.