Voicing Public Emotion: Poetry & Politics

Voicing Public Emotion: Poetry & Politics

Move between the public and private in this day of political poetic writing.

*  To ensure the safety of our tutors and students, this course will take place on video-conferencing platform, ZOOM *

Joseph Brodsky said that poetry and politics have nothing in common except the letters ‘p’ and ‘o’, suggesting perhaps that politics is too much of a public act, in direct opposition to the poetic act, which takes root in private experience. He insisted on protecting lyric language from the pollution of deformed political discourse, which often feels manipulative. But what happens if political realities shape and change the way we live our private, individual lives? Is there a language that feels artistically appropriate as it takes on the subject of politics? What is the difference between verse propaganda and poetry that shows how politics affect the inner landscapes of our experience? What constitutes political poetry? Can poetry articulate the damage done by politics? In this course we will read several poems that tackle political subjects, to identify the language of poetry that can take on difficult subjects, without losing its power to move and delight. We will also generate new work with the help of several writing prompts. Everyone is welcome.

The course will have 2 parts, the first being a 2.5-hour Zoom session with the tutor, filled with exciting reading, writing, and group discussions, after which you’ll be set various writing prompts and exercises to complete at home, before reconvening for a Zoom-based workshop in part 2 to discuss and develop your new poems.

Saturday 14 November and 5 December, 2.30–5pm (GMT).

Image Credit: EV

About Carmen Bugan View Profile

Carmen BuganGeorge Orwell Prize Fellow, has published four collections of poems, most recently Lilies from America: New and Selected Poems (PBS Special Commendation), a memoir, Burying the Typewriter (BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week), and a monograph, Seamus Heaney and East European Poetry in Translation: Poetics of Exile.  Her book of essays, Poetry and the Language of Oppression, will be published by Oxford University Press in March 2021. She was a guest on current affairs and history programmes on the BBC, NPR, ABC, and The Monocle. A recipient of an Arts Council Grant, she was a Creative Arts Fellow in Literature at Wolfson College, Oxford University, and the Helen DeRoy Professor in Honors at the University of Michigan. She has a doctorate in English literature from Balliol College, Oxford. 

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