Form From Feeling and Feeling From Form: Summer
This class is for people who want to improve their poems, by understanding the art more fully, from the inside out. During our four weeks, we’ll explore seven formal elements—action, voice, sentence, phrase, line, sound, and metaphor—while generating our own new poems. I hope to give each student a better feeling for how formal elements work together, at any given moment in a poem; how they combine and separate, much like the modes of a musical scale. This won’t be an “academic” process: I believe that we all benefit from studying the fundamental formal elements, or energies, because they themselves derive from and lend new body to feeling. That’s my only doctrine, and it’s not a doctrine so much as a declaration some devout, mentally unique person might emblazon on his rooftop with Christmas lights: the formal elements of poetry derive from and lend new body to feeling. Writers with lots of experience and those new to the art are both welcome here.
Peter Campion is the author of three collections of poems, Other People (2005,) The Lions (2009,) and El Dorado (2013,) all published by the University of Chicago Press. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, the Larry Levis Reading Prize, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and the Joseph Brodsky Rome Prize (Prix de Rome) from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Minnesota.