The Seductions of Voice with Paisley Rekdal

Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Wednesday, September 20, 5:00PM - 7:00PM

Meeting will take place in the Poetry Center's Alumni Room, Room 205; limit 12 students. SOLD OUT. Contact Paola Valenzuela at to get on the waitlist.

What is “voice” in poetry, and how have our ideas of what constitutes the lyric voice historically evolved? When it comes to first-person poems, are we really just speaking for ourselves or as part of a collective? How does voice determine how we understand the difference between a poem’s addressee versus its audience? How do our ideas about “voice” and audience themselves change in persona poems? And finally, how do we cultivate readerly sympathy or trust with choices we make around voice? In this class, we’ll look at a range of poems that we might call “voice-driven,” from François Villon, William Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman to Randall Jarrell, Frank O’Hara, Terrance Hayes, Myung-Mi Kim, and Diane Seuss to consider the many lyric possibilities of “voice.” In-class exercises will be provided to help students generate new work.