Selected Emphases in Poetry: Asian Poetry
Instructor: Anothai Kaewkaen
Class Type: Literature & Workshop
Moon in the Eastern Chamber: Survey & Workshop of Asian Poetries
Since the turn of the last century, movements in American poetry have often looked East for inspiration. Pound developed his Imagist aesthetic through working with classical Chinese poems; his translations had an influence on American free verse for decades to come. Elliot referenced Sanskrit hymns in The Wasteland, and Merwyn’s poetry continues to be informed by Eastern authors.
In this course, we will survey works from three classical Asian traditions—Chinese, Japanese, and Thai—to understand the cultural contexts they come from, their concerns and conventions, their structures and symbolism. We’ll also read contemporary English-language poetry that engages these traditions and workshop pieces modeled on their aesthetics as well.
Because our readings will be in translation, we will also engage with the art of literary translation, becoming conscious of the types of decisions that go into translating a poem, becoming critical readers of alternate translations, and working out of trots to create translations of poems ourselves. Writers of lyric essays and flash nonfiction will also find kindred spirits in the writers of haibun and pillow books even as they explore the verse-forms in this class.
Poems from the Buddha’s Footprint
Singing Bone Press, 2016
Hirschfield, Jane & Aratani, Mariko
The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan
Vintage Classics, 1990
Roripaugh, Lee Ann
On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year
Southern Illinois University Press, 2009