Writing Our Truth: Memory, History, and Lyric Form
In her book Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World, Jane Hirschfield writes, “Good art is a truing of vision, in the way a saw is trued in the saw shop, to cut more cleanly. It is also a changing of vision.” Literary texts offer the opportunity for such “truing,” acute seeing, in terms of both personal and social transformation. In this weekend intensive, we will explore memory (our interior lives) and history (the intersection of the personal with one’s historical moment) as these inform a writer’s vision. We will begin exploring selected poems, their truths, by considering, first, writerly strategies that engage personal memory, and second, readings that engage history and the notion of bearing witness with regard to home, exile, lament, refuge, and gratitude. Then we’ll shift to a discussion of lyric form and hybridity—the use of poem, story, reportage, song, visual image, and typography, as elements of collage. Through in-class writing exercises and discussion, we will begin to shape our own literary projects as mosaics evocative of the postmodern era in which we live and write.