Instructor: Drury    TR    12:30 PM-01:50 PM

In this introductory course, we’ll read a wide range of texts, some in verse and some in prose, some lyrical and some narrative, and then write imitations and variations in response to those models. We will NOT have a unit on fiction, a unit on poetry, and so on, but will mix & match, jumping from genre to genre, sometimes mixing them as Yehuda Amichai does in his poem “Tourists”:

Visits of condolence is all we get from them.
They squat at the Holocaust Memorial,
They put on grave faces at the Wailing Wall
And they laugh behind heavy curtains
In their hotels.
They have their pictures taken
Together with our famous dead
At Rachel’s Tomb and Herzl’s Tomb
And on the top of Ammunition Hill.
They weep over our sweet boys
And lust over our tough girls
And hang up their underwear
To dry quickly
In cool, blue bathrooms.

Once I sat on the steps by a gate at David’s Tower, I placed my two heavy baskets at my side. A group of tourists was standing around their guide and I became their target marker. “You see that man with the baskets? Just right of his head there’s an arch from the Roman period. Just right of his head.” “But he’s moving, he’s moving!” I said to myself: redemption will come only if their guide tells them, “You see that arch from the Roman period? It’s not important: but next to it, left and down a bit, there sits a man who’s bought fruit and vegetables for his family.”


We’ll revel in brevity (parables, fables, prose poems, haiku sequences, sonnets, verbal snapshots, flash fiction and nonfiction), forsaking (for the time being) novels and epics. We’ll study the rules of fixed forms such as the villanelle and learn ways to subvert them. We’ll investigate the machinery of sentences. We’ll listen to examples of blues and fugues, learning how to emulate them on the page. We’ll explore traditions and entertain possibilities.