Modern and Postmodern Poetry [I]
Warren Lecture Hall 2115
A survey of early twentieth-century avant-garde poetry as a vehicle
for the transformation of society and mind. We will look both
individual poets and at those movements (Futurism, Dada,
Surrealism, Negritude, etc.) that covered a wide spectrum of arts
- not only poetry and related forms of writing and performance
but painting, sculpture, film, and what later came to be called
intermedia. In doing so we will pay particular attention to how
new poetry and art developed through collage, chance operations,
dream, and in "the art of writing the manifesto."
Textbooks: J. Rothenberg and P. Joris, Poems for the
Millennium (volume one: From Fin-de-Siècle to Negritude);
Perloff, The Futurist Moment; xeroxed volume of supplementary
readings (available from CalCopy).
Course requirements include a midterm, a term paper
or equivalent creative project, & a (take-home) final. Depending
on class size, short seminar-style reports (related to the term
may also be required.
1/9-1/11 The New Spirit in Poetry & Art
Readings. M. Perloff, Chapter One. From Millennium:
"Introduction," "Forerunners," & "A
First Gallery," especially
works by & commentaries on Mallarmé (pp. 47-49, 53-76),
(99-105), Apollinaire (119-131), Cendrars, (160-172), Reverdy
(180-185), Pound (153-157), Huidobro (185-190). [xerox] G.
Stein, "Composition as Explanation."
1/16-1/18 The Invention of Collage and The Word Set Free
Readings. M. Perloff: Chapters Two and Four. From
Millennium: S. Mallarmé, "A Throw of the Dice"
(53-76); G. Stein,
all poems in Gallery One (99-105); Pablo Picasso, "A Bottle
Suze" (132-134); E. Pound, "Canto One" (154-156);
Futurism (I) [193-194] and (II) [220-221]; C. Carrà,
"Demonstration for Intervention in the War" (195); F.T.
"Après la Marne (199), "Zang Tumb Tuuum"
"Variety Theater Manifesto" (207-209); Futurist performances
Cangiullo, Marinetti, & Depero (210-215); V. Kamensky, "Ferro-
Concrete Poem" (222); all selections from Khlebnikov (223-230),
Kruchenykh (232-237); A.Stern, Europa (251-260). SUPPLEMENTARY
READING: P. Hulten, Futurism and Futurisms; V. Markov, Russian
1/23 The Art of Making Manifestos
Readings. M. Perloff: Chapter Three. From Millennium:
F.T. Marinetti, "Manifesto of Futurism" (196-198); D.
al., "from A Slap in the Face of Public Taste"; A. Kruchenykh,
"Declaration of the Word as Such" (231); T. Tzara, "from
Dada Manifesto on Feeble & Bitter Love" (527-528); A. Breton,
Manifesto of Surrealism" (468-470); E. Pound, "Vortex
1/25 Kandinsky's Expressionism & That of Benn & Others:
The Spiritual in Art & the Odor of Annihilation
Readings. From Millennium: "Prologue to
Expressionism"; all poems in Expressionism section, but especially
by Kandinsky (266-277), Lasker-Schüler (268-271), Benn (277-
281), Stramm (271-273), Trakl (281-285). [xerox]: W. Kandinsky,
"from Concerning the Spiritual in Art." SUPPLEMENTARY
Kandinsky & F. Marc, The Blaue Reiter Almanach.
1/30-2/1 Rilke at Duino & Some Other Visionary Poets
Readings. From Millennium: W. Blake, "Obey thou the
Words of the Inspired Man" (pp. 21-24); A. Rimbaud, "from
Season in Hell" (42-44); A. Wölfli, all selections (80-86);
Rilke, First and Eighth Duino Elegies (108-111, 352-355); M.
Jacob, "1914" (112); R. Desnos, "Trance Event"
Yeats, "from A Vision and The Second Coming" (345-346);
Akhmatova, "Requiem" (585-593); Orpingalik, "Songs
sung out with the breath" (735); M. Sabina, "from The
2/6-2/8 Vortex.Pound and the Emergence of an"Objectivists"
Line in American Modernism
Readings. M. Perloff, Chapter Five. From Millennium:
Ezra Pound, all poems (153-157, 367-372, 527-528, 734); William
Carlos Williams, all poems (360-363, 529-533); H.D., all poems
(372-379); Mina Loy, all poems (136-141); "Objectivists"
complete (525-556), plus Louis Zukofsky (679-686); Lorine
Niedecker, all poems (661-666). [xerox]: T.S. Eliot/Ezra Pound,
"A Page from The Waste Land." SUPPLEMENTARY READING:
The Pound Era; M. Heller, Conviction's Net of Branches: Essays
on the Objectivist Poets and Poetry.
2/13 Toward a New Epic Writing: The Poem Including History
Readings. From Millennium: the excerpts from Pound's
Cantos (154-157, 367-372, 773-774), W.C. Williams' Paterson
(360-363), Zukofsky's "A" (682-685), Huidobro's Altazor
416), Césaire's Notebook of a Return to the Native Land
580). Also: Pessoa's Martitime Ode (148-151), Marintetti's Zand
Tumb Tuuum (200-205), H.D.'s The Walls Do Not Fall [from
Trilogy] (372-378), St.-John Perse's Anabasis (383-385), Charles
Reznikoff's Testimony (546-551), Anna Akhmatova's Requiem
(585-593), René Char's Leaves of Hypnos (702-706), Muriel
Rukeyser's "The Dam" [from U.S. 1] (724-727).
2/15 Dada in Zurich: The Cabaret Voltaire
Readings. From Millennium: "Prologue to Dada" &
rest of the Dada section, especially selections from Ball (291-297),
Tzara (291, 297-306,496-499), Huelsenbeck (306-309), and
Duchamp (173-176, 323-325). [xerox]: H. Richter, "from Dada:
Art & Anti-Art [Cabaret Voltaire]. SUPPLEMENTARY READING:
Motherwell, The Dada Painters & Poets; L. Lippard, Dadas on
2/20-2/22 Four Artist-Poets: Arp, Picabia, Schwitters, Ernst
Guest lecturer (2/22): Pierre Joris.
Readings. From Millennium: All works by Arp (310-
314), Picabia (315-322), Schwitters (327-333), Ernst (506-514).
[xerox]: K. Schwitters, "Merz"; H. Arp, "Dada Was
Not a Farce";
M. Ernst, "What Is Collage?"
2/27-2/29 The Surrealist Revolution: The Poetics & Politics
Readings. From Millennium: "Prologue to Surrealism"
all poems in Surrealism section, but especially "Trance Events"
(470-471), "Language Events" (472-473), & those
by Breton (38-
341, 468-470, 474-481, 501-504) and Desnos (492-495) [xerox]:
A. Breton, "Surrealism"; L. Buñuel & S. Dali,
Dog" (scenario). SUPPLEMENTARY READING: L. Lippard, Surrealists
Art; M. Jean, The Autobiography of Surrealism.
[Special session for class event and showing of Dada and Surrealist
- to be announced.]
3/5 Antonin Artaud & the Attack on Writing
Readings. From Millennium: A. Artaud, "All Writing Is
Garbage," "A Spurt of Blood" & commentary (515-521).
A. Artaud, "Letter to André Breton."
3/7 Negritude & the Art of Aimé Césaire
Readings. From Millennium: "Prologue to Negritude"
all poems in the Negritude Section, especially those by Césaire
(516, 575-582, & also 751-752), plus poems by J. de Lima (417-
421), N. Guillén (666-673), L. Hughes (651- 656), M. Tolson
614), & African & African-derived works in the oral tradition
750, 783-789). SUPPLEMENTARY READING James A.Arnold,
Modernism & Negritude: the Poetry & Poetics of Aimé
3/12-3/14 The Search for Origins: Toward a Global Poetics
Readings. From Millennium: "A Book of Origins" (pp.
Note. As the class discussion develops, the preceding readings
will likely be
supplemented by further suggested readings from Poems for the
and other sources. Students who come across old or new favorites
these pages should bring them to the attention of the instructor
and other class