Poetry and Experiment

Course Outline:

This course aims to challenge the received structures of language in the students' own poetry through a close reading of poets who opened up new frontiers of 20th/21st century literature through their experimental approaches to language. Every seminar will be split in two halves; the first hour will be devoted to a close reading of experimental work by a published poet, from Alice Oswald to Ezra Pound, looking at how they stretch or break the lyric formula; the second hour will a workshop based on critiquing the students' own poetic experiments. In week two, students will receive a basic introduction to Wittgenstein's theory of language games, with each subsequent poet examined in the light of how they try to break the rules of the game. The students' own experiments are encouraged as either continuations of the radical departures first implemented by the poets in question, or the students' own attempts to break from comfortable notions of confessional or lyric poetry.