This course could be anything from a one day seminar to a full semester. Its instructor will benefit from a laptop, some speakers, an overhead projector, a screening surface and an internet connection.
|Earl the Squirrel's Rule #25|
Like any course, it would start with the teacher and students introducing themselves. Similarities with existing literature courses would end there. As the word "producing" suggests, the emphasis is on writing, not interpreting, poetry. "People" refers to everyone, not just other poets or editors. "Want" suggests a pleasure-driven desire for, in this case, entertainment. Finally, "hear" implies venues beyond text.
A definition of poetry needs to be established. That's easy. Poetry is verbatim. Knowing our destination, it is a relatively simple, if tedious, process of eliminating fatuous Convenient Poetics and Content Regency arguments along the way. In this regard, what students have learned in English Lit classes can become a liability; much of it will have to be unlearned.
blood (i.e. scansion) and language. As you can see, most of the work has been done by onliners. In the case of terminology, the teacher need only select the logical, grammatical, structural and poetic terms deemed vital.
Once the students understand the jargon and the basics of meter they can be congratulated. They now know more about the workings of verse than most MFA graduates. This will be invaluable. Among many other benefits, it enables critiquing/critical skills. This means that workshopping will amount to more than "the blind leading the blind".
To end on a lighter note, students will be asked to contribute the titles and lyrics of their favorite songs. Having them recite the lyrics as best they can will illustrate how sonics (i.e. alliteration, consonance, assonance, rhymes) and meter (i.e. accentual versus accentual-syllabic) help us remember some sections as we forget others within the same song.
As an example, these newfound technical/critical skills might be tested by playing Paul Simon's "Hearts and Bones":
Why do we remember that phrase "Sangre de Cristo, Blood of Christ Mountain" but lose so many of the other lyrics?
Poetry doesn't sell. So how can we say that one poem is better, more practical or more commercial than another? In short, as a teaser for the subsequent installment (on "Markets"). we ask:
"How can we know what people like when they don't like anything?"