Breaching the Boundary: Breaking Out of Form and the Fourth Wall in Poetry.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

Wednesday: February 12, 2020 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

Meetings will be in the Poetry Center Alumni Room 205. 

Registration for this class opens December 6, 2019.

Kenneth Burke states that the notion of "appetite" involves expectations and cravings, which can be understood in the context of form. He continues, "Form in literature is an arousing and fulfillment of desires. A work has form in so far as one part of it leads a reader to anticipate another part, to be gratified by the sequence." But how do we meaningfully interrupt that sequence, that sense of expectation and patterning in a poem? How do we invent something new, or what if the poem itself demands a deviation?

For this class, we'll examine what it means to skillfully break out of form and the fourth wall, or, as Harold Bloom says, "swerve away" from our literary predecessors. Making and breaking and blurring forms is an exciting, fresh practice that often leads to revelation, and, most importantly, surprise and transformation by toggling release and restraint.

We'll experiment blending and diverging from received and free-verse poems in hopes of starting new drafts out of our comfort zones. This class will help you to investigate and question your own habits as well as your relationship to the psychology of poetic form and the theater of the page. We'll look to poems from Ross Gay, Jericho Brown, Jennifer Chang, Danez Smith, Terrance Hayes, Denis Johnson, Elizabeth Bishop (and more!) as we discuss the idea of "breaking the fourth wall in poetry"—meaning the performance of the poem is thoughtfully disrupted by directly referencing the reader or imagined other.
In this class, you will write, share, and offer thoughtful feedback. Come ready to play and slay the page!