The End of the Line: A Seminar on Poetic Closure

We can all agree that writing poems is a mysterious and baffling process, and most of us would also agree with the claim that one of the most baffling aspects of writing poetry involves endings. What makes for a closing that seem right and inevitable? What are the pitfalls to avoid when we try to end our poems? I want this class to attempt some provisional answers to these questions, both through a short examination of types of poetic closures, and through one or two writing exercises that focus on endings. In the process, we will examine poems by—among others—Cesar Vallejo, Robert Lowell, James Wright, and Wisława Symborska. Those who enroll in the class will not need to do any preliminary reading, but I would like each class member to bring multiple copies of one of his/her recent poems to be used in class discussion and in the writing exercises.

Registration is closed for this class.