NEW Spring 2024 - Lyric & Perspective

LS 770-01
Spring 2024
Wednesdays, 6-9 PM
GLS House, 2114 Campus Drive

INSTRUCTOR: Michelle Dove

The lyric is a message in a bottle that, as Edward Hirsch says, “speaks out of a solitude to a solitude.” You write and, across space and time, someone else reads what you have written. In this way, a lyric poem or essay is also a two-way mirror that invites participation from the reader to create meaning from the language on the page.  

In this writing course, you will read lyric poetry and essays to internalize the inherent musicality and playfulness of language and find the language that shocks us awake. You will learn some poetic inclinations that can help us ask the questions, “Is it a poem?” and “What makes it a good poem?” Doing so will empower you to form your own poetic truths that are, what Kenneth Koch calls, “sense of a new kind.” With musicality and poetic inclinations as our base, you’ll then write lyric poems and essays in ways that what you’re saying is inseparable from how it’s said. You’ll learn how to embrace poetic lying and how to harness fear as a catalyst. Poetry is not explanation, nor is it information. We’ll also explore how the negative capability of poetry can empower us to hone our poetic truths outside of philosophical certainty and investigate what poet Solmaz Sharif calls the “political and aesthetic objectives” of erasure.

Eileen Myles, Kate Greenstreet, Anne Boyer, Lyn Hejinian, Frank O’Hara, Kate Durbin, Sawako Nakayusa, Cathy Park Hong, Nuar Alsadir, Morgan Parker, Sarah Manguso, Michelle Chan Brown and Tommy Pico are some of the authors we will likely read.

MICHELLE DOVE is a multi-genre writer and musician. Since joining the staff of the Duke English Department in 2016, she has taught fiction, nonfiction and poetry writing at Duke and, more recently, at Night School Bar in Durham. She is the author of Radio Cacophony, a linked collection of short prose, and a co-owner and operator of SPINSTER, a radical feminist record label founded in 2018 that has released albums featured in The New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, and Rolling Stone. Since 2016, she has also served as an Associate Series Editor for the Wigleaf Top 50.