Perceiving Form

Perceiving Form


Start Date: 10/21/18

Early poetic forms created order and pattern in a fearful world. Early court poetry helped create the individual. Romantic forms were vessels for the imagination. The forms we have received from the past are both part of our experience and foreign. Maybe they remind us of parts of ourselves forgotten. As we use received forms its as if we re-enter them as the future they imagined and bring them forward in new ways. We don’t use them by the aesthetic principles they once expressed but they let us see ourselves and the past in new ways. They also teach us about language. Writing poetry always does that because it puts pressure on language. These older forms show us how to say what we mean to say in a poem. They constrain us and then we stumble into discovery. Closed or open, poetic form plays with the structures of language and creative process. We’ll practice the forms and then run with them.

Week 1: Form as dance: villanelle

Week 2: Inventions on the dance

Week 3: Form as repetition: sestina, rondeau

Week 4: Inventions with repetition

Week 5: The poem being read in private: the sonnet

Week 6: Inventing reading

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