Singing about The Dark Times: Poetry as Protest and Resistance
9/19/17 – 12/12/17 | Tuesdays, 6:00—9:00 pm
(no class Thanksgiving week)
“In the dark times will there also be singing?” asks Bertolt Brecht in “Motto.” “Yes,” he answers, “there will be singing. About the dark times.” Speaking truth to power remains a crucial role for poets who, vigilant to the ways that political and media rhetoric silences, manipulates and discredits, write poems that talk back to the systems that harm and threaten. The world of “resistance” poetry is vast, and during this class we will read and discuss a selection of poems and essays from South and North America, Africa, Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, and Europe; poems and essays that sing about/against political, social and cultural oppression; against war, atrocity, and the legacies of colonialism; against greed that puts profit before people or land; about the dangers of Empire and the terrifying possibility of planetary destruction. All these poets rail against complacency, using various techniques and devices to control and heighten their message. Using “model” poems as springboards, you will write and workshop your own poems of resistance employing formal devices that best carry your songs against The Dark Times. Class capped at twelve. Reading packet provided. Please buy Resistance, Rebellion, Life: 50 Poems Now (Knopf: May 2017).