What is a Poem and Why Does Poetry Matter?

THREE TUESDAYS, SEPTEMBER 24, OCTOBER 1 AND 8, 6:00–7:30 P.M.

THE JUNG CENTER, 5200 MONTROSE, 77006.

What exactly is a poem? Is it any lineated work of literature? Is it the expression of a particular kind of thought? Is it a bundle of literary conventions? And why does poetry matter? This seminar will address such questions and more. The focus will be on the vitality of poetry—historically, politically, and personally. Emily Dickinson’s poems reflected not only her time; she predicted the future of art. T. S. Eliot’s poems ushered in a new cultural age. Other poets have defined their eras and helped countless readers to see the world with new complexity, insight, and connection. Kevin Prufer will explore how poetry can be a source of enrichment for all of us.

Tuesday, September 24: A thing made of lines and music
In this session, we will discuss the most fundamental qualities of poems: that they are made of lines that, in turn, create music. But how is a line of poetry different from a line of prose? What powers does it hold and how does music grow there? We’ll consider poems by, among others, Elizabeth Bishop, Delmore Schwartz, D.A. Powell, Randall Jarrell, Emily Dickinson.

Tuesday, October 1: The power of image and metaphor
Here we will discuss the power of images—and their implicit and explicit cousins, metaphors. How are images containers for meaning? What is the magic that occurs when an image meets an abstraction and creates metaphor? Here, we’ll look at poems by Frank O’Hara, Louise Glück, Russell Atkins, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Yusef Komunyakaa, Robert Hass, and more.

Tuesday, October 8: The governance of structure and form
What does it mean when we say that form creates function in poetry? How do the structural elements of a poem dictate the kind of meaning a poem can make? Why do some poets prefer the strictures of rhyme, meter, and other received forms? This session will examine the power and interest of poetic structure and form. We’ll consider poems by Robert Frost, Gjertrud Schnakenberg, Dunstan Thompson, Rupert Brooke, and others.

Kevin Prufer is the author of nine poetry collections and a novel. He is also editor of many books on literary translation, literary publishing, and European and American poetry. Professor Prufer is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation, and his recent poetry collections have won the Julie Suk Award, been short-listed for the Rilke Prize, long-listed for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize, and earned spots on best-of-the-year lists from the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and BookList. He is a professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston.

$40.00

35 in stock

$40.00

35 in stock

$40.00

35 in stock

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