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MFA Course Descriptions

IMF 52706
Selected Emphases in Poetry: Asian Poetry

Instructor: Anothai Kaewkaen

Class Type: Literature & Workshop

Course Description: 

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.


Anothai, Noh
Poems from the Buddha’s Footprint
Singing Bone Press, 2016
ISBN 9780933439122

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
ISBN 9780679729587

Roripaugh, Lee Ann
On the Cusp of a Dangerous Year
Southern Illinois University Press, 2009
ISBN 9780809329298

Lindenwood University
209 S. Kingshighway
St. Charles, MO 63301