Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
english masthead
english masthead
Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2007

E 379S • Senior Seminar

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
34850 TTh
12:30 PM-2:00 PM
PAR 306

Course Description

E 344L (Topic: Poetry and Performance) may not also be counted.

All poetry is incomplete until it is read aloud, the poetry and poetics scholar Lorenzo Thomas has argued, while other artists such as Johanna Drucker urge readers to consider the "visual performance of the poetic text" on the printed page, or more recently, computer screen. Is poetry essentially a performance art, a dynamic deployment of language within the varied realms of the visual, the oral, and the corporeal? This course will engage the debates concerning the nature of performative and expressive elements in contemporary 20th Century American verse, with a particular--though not exclusive--emphasis on Black expressive culture. We will discuss and analyze a variety of poetic forms and their relationship to other "non-literary" media, including poetry with musical accompaniment, poetry and visual arts, poetry and dance, poetry and oral competition (e.g. slams); poetry and performed communities (collectives, writing workshops, colonies) and digital poetry. We will read a wide variety of poets, focusing particularly on the thematic and structural relationship between: poetry and memory, poetry and nation, poetry and the body, poetry and multilingualism, poetry and loss.

This course will also entail an engagement in theoretical premises and practices that explore pertinent issues in African-American visual culture such as the politics of the body, considerations of the visibility/invisibility conundrum, the problem of the visual in African-American culture, race, gender and theories of spectatorship and the public sphere. A critical question the course will explore: What is the relationship between poetic form and visual enactment, visual perception and writing and reading practices in contemporary (African) American poetry? Our reading, viewing and critical-creative writing will seek to broaden the spectrum of practices typically deemed as innovative within the American poetic tradition.

Grading Policy

Active class participation 20%
Paper research proposal and outline (2-4 page) 20%
Annotated bibliography 20%
Final paper draft (6-8 page) 20%
Final research paper (12 page) 20%


Hacker, Diana, A Pocket Style Manual
Trethewey, Natasha, Bellocq's Ophelia: Poems
Clief-Stefanon, Lyrae Van, Black Swan
Eady, Cornelius, Brutal Imagination
Shange, Notozake, For Colored Girls
Giscombe, C.S., Giscome Road
Jordan, A. Van, Macnolia
Eady, Cornelius, You Don't Miss Your Water


bottom border