Narrative and Poetics
spatial theory and contemporary poetics
This course investigates relationships between poetic form and the growing field of spatial studies. We will read late-20th- and 21st-century poetry from Britain, Ireland, and North America, placing these poems in conversation with theoretical works that conceptualize “space” through political, sociological, ecological, textual, etc. lenses. Our main goal will be to engage with various threads of spatial theory and identify ways that contemporary poetic forms may illuminate these spatial inquiries, and vice versa. While our work will build on a foundation of interdisciplinary readings in spatial theory, we will also connect our discussion to fields like narrative theory, utopian studies, environmental studies, and recent work in experimentalism and the avant-garde, among others.
contemporary experimental literature
In this class, we will explore key developments in experimental writing from the 20th to the 21st century. Rather than an in-depth study of individual literary movements, this class will explore a variety of experimental techniques and forms from the period—from aleatory fiction to concrete poetry to digital literature, among others. Each week of the four-week session will take on a different thread of experimentalism and track its development from after World War II to the present. We will pay particular attention to the way that these works respond to and interact with artistic, cultural, and historical contexts throughout the period. And, by trying out some of these ex- periments in our own writing, we’ll come to better understand the way that these practices work, as well as the ways that they demand different kinds of interpretive and reading practices.
introduction to fiction and nonfiction
This course introduces students to the reading, interpretation, analysis, and enjoyment of prose fiction and nonfiction. The primary aim of this course is to become a more experienced, imaginative, and critical reader of these forms, able to identify and discuss the techniques and strategies employed in the various texts that we read throughout the semester. We will explore various narrative texts through the lens of narrative theory, and we will situate our analysis of these fictional and nonfictional texts within their historical, cultural, and political contexts. Not only will we explore the many ways that fiction and nonfiction can reflect and respond to its context, but we will also consider their influence on and ability to shape changes within these conditions.
introduction to poetry and drama
In this course, we will study poetry and drama from the Renaissance through the twenty-first century. The course will be divided evenly between the two forms, with the first half of the semester dealing with poetry and the second half focusing on drama. By the end of the semester, you will gain a broad knowledge of and appreciation for poetry and drama and their cultural and intellectual significance. We will read a variety of poetic and dramatic texts that employ everything from traditional to radically experimental forms, starting each section by focusing on the basic building blocks of poetry and drama and progressively integrating more complicated systems into our discussions and analyses of the works. From these focused reading practices, we will work to understand poetry’s and drama’s role within larger literary, cultural, and historical categories.
narrative theory and film [independent study]
This independent study considers the narrative capacities of filmic adaptations of prose narratives. The semester is broken into three general units: 1) an introduction to the concepts and methodologies of narrative theory, 2) work that engages film studies and narrative theory, 3) adaptation theory.