LISA RUSS SPAAR
“GEM TACTICS”: DEPLOYING ECSTATIC RUSES IN POEMS OF ARDOR with LISA RUSS SPAAR
Paul Valéry once pointed out that “A poet’s function . . . is not to experience the poetic state: that is a private affair. His function is to create it in others.” How can we create for our reader, in poems, an experience of our “private,” subjective ardor, be it erotic, ecstatic, melancholy, religious, political, quotidian, cosmic, or other? Metaphor, elision, syntax, juxtaposition, Heaney’s “binding secret” of sound textures, sampling, inter-textuality, varied registers of diction—what Dickinson called her “gem tactics” and Anne Carson: ruses. We will look at how a discerning use of these and other poetic devices help us to say the unsayable, deepen and open our poems to what is at stake in them, as language acts, as testimony, as witness, as play. Workshop will involve constructive critique of student poems and generation of new material. Participants will send 3-4 poems in advance of the workshop.