One of the first things we have learned about poetry is that we cannot define poetry. What we can do, however, is experience it.
It starts with reading.
Just when you think you "grasped" the poem, read it again in the company of others. Only to discover more, to see a formerly invisible path, a sign, a possibility.
We might not be able to determine whether Henry David Thoreau was right in saying that "[p]oetry cannot breathe in the scholar’s atmosphere." In Poetry Parlor, we take poetry outside the scholar’s atmosphere, outside seminars. Gardens, lawns, cafés become our second classroom for reading poetry.
Please note that this "class" is not a part of the regular modular system and is limited to 10 interested students each semester. It is designed to practice a close reading of poetry. Weekly readings will not exceed two poems a week and will be decided upon collectively. Participating students will be requested to read the poems in advance, but then we will use class time (usually one hour) to read them once again together, paying particular attention to how formal characteristics such as rhyme, meter, and imagery help the poems dramatize their meanings. Our main model here will be the methods developed by New Criticism; we will read closely. Students who participate in this special class will leave not only with an understanding of how poems work but also with the skills needed to analyze poetry and other literary texts.
Interested in joining our parlor? Feel free to send an email to email@example.com for further information.