Week 3: Ian Williams, Nature, and Politics

Hi all,

So this week we spent some time workshopping and editing our second papers, and also discussed some dramatic poems on Tuesday. The one we talked about the most was Robert Frost’s “Home Burial,” which is a beautiful and tragic poem about a husband and wife who have lost their child. They’re both coping with their grief in different ways, so their marriage is suffering. One of the aspects of the poem I really loved is how the husband and wife have a whole argument without really communicating or listening to each other at all. The way Frost writes the scene makes it feel very real and tangible.

For Wednesday we read Ian Williams’¬†Personals, and I think I can say without a doubt that we all loved that collection. Ian Williams is brilliant, and writes everything from clever, witty poems like “” to deeply profound poems like the “Rings” series. Even his witty work is profound and his profound work witty, which is an admirable talent. “Hay,” in particular struck all of us in this witty and profound way:

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Then on Thursday we talked about form (not that we haven’t been talking about form this whole time, but today we covered a few specific forms, namely Villanelle, Sestina, and Haiku). We read some great villanelles like Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night” and Elizabeth Bishop’s “One Art.” Jane’s not really the biggest fan of sestina’s, so we didn’t talk about them too much, which was fine with us because instead we went outside and sat on the grass in the sun and wrote haiku. Here are a couple pictures of us:

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My classmate Jonathan spent a lot of his time making a fun flower crown out of daisies, and also wrote some haiku he was willing to contribute.

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I also wrote some haiku myself:

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Last but not least, Friday we discussed political poetry, looking at poems like Carolyn Forch√©’s “The Colonel” and Mark Doty’s “Charlie Howard’s Descent.” We talked quite a bit about the interplay of passion and restraint in political poetry, because it’s impossible to write a good political poem about something you have no passion for, but the writer also benefits from exercising restraint and focusing their poetry in a detailed way. Poetry can be used both to work through and explain difficult or traumatic events in a beautiful and haunting way.

That’s all for this week! This weekend we’ll be beginning work on our final papers and finishing up poems for Project Poetry.

Over and out,

O

 

Published by Olivia

CC Sophomore, Fiction Writing Major, Spanish Minor. I'm originally from Bellevue, WA, and I will always love the Northwest more than anything. Other loves include books, soccer and skiing, theatre, languages, and of course, writing.

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