Introductory Seminars for First-Year Students
Love and Death
How do we express life’s most powerful and often overwhelming emotions, like love and grief? How have writers, across centuries and many different literary traditions, sung the praises of a beloved, or lamented the ache of loss? What formal traditions--from repetition and refrain to the love sonnet and the elegy--have helped writers shape all that emotion into something enduring, and larger than the merely personal?
In this hybrid literature and creative writing course, we will range across time and space in search of poems and stories that capture the ineffable experiences of love and loss, and seek inspiration in writers old and new, from Shakespeare to James Baldwin, Lucille Clifton to Agha Shahid Ali. The main work of the course will be reading poems and stories, as well as generating original poetry and prose written under the influence of our literary heroes.