Stop Making Sense with Timothy Donnelly

Wednesday, October 18, 2023 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm

Wednesday, October 18th, 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.

Why shouldn’t our writing explore on its own terms what it means to make meaning? Why shouldn’t it surpass predetermined ideas of what meaningfulness looks and sounds like and reach out beyond the all-too-familiar, letting itself encompass elements of nonsense, irrationality, confusion, and even error in its field of possibilities, the way life itself does, whether we like it or not? Designed to enliven and inspire, this class will survey an array of artistic practices—ranging from traditional poetic devices such as metaphor to experimental modes of composition—that strain against the confines of standardized language use and seek to defy workaday reasoning. In addition to appreciating the various aesthetic motives (and pleasures) of subverting common sense, we will also consider the politics of writing as, in the words of Fred Moten, “a constant disruption of the means of semantic production.” Participants will work on two exercises during class (and one before we meet) and they will also be sent in advance a reader for the class that includes poetry and prose by Lewis Carol, Leonora Carrington, e. e. cummings, Paul Éluard, Lynn Hejinian, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Edward Lear, Fererico García Lorca, Tracie Morris, Harryette Mullen, Sylvia Plath, Arthur Rimbaud, Kurt Schwitters, Gertrude Stein, and others