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American Sentences
Organic Poetry

Hugo House Eastside Course at Park Place Books, Jan 23 Feb 26, 2007

Week I
Week II
Week III
Week IV
Week V
Week VI

Organic Poetry Course Outline

Week I: Origins of North American Organic Poetry: Whitman and Williams.

1)      Madlib

2)      Group Introductions

3)      Process/Organic Paradigm

4)      AG on 1st Thought, Best Thought.

5)      AG on Whitman.

6)      Writing Exercise One Short Exquisite Corpse

7)      Walt Whitman

a)      Born May 31, 1819 at West Hills, Huntington Township, NY. (d-3.26.1892)

b)      1831 - 1855, office boy, apprentice printer, printer, teacher, editor, newspaper columnist.

c)      May 15, 1855 takes out copyright on Leaves of Grass.

d)      Poets to Come, sections of Song of Myself, and I Sing the Body Electric.

8)      Writing Exercise Two Two Person Corpse.

9)      William Carlos Williams

a)      Born September 18, 1883 in Rutherford, NJ. to English immigrant Father and Puerto Rican Mother. 1897 began study in Europe (Switzerland and Paris), then entered Medical School at Penn, where he befriended Ezra Pound and H.D. Was part of the Imagist movement in 1912/3, Published Spring and All 1923; The Wedge, 1944 (with reference to the FIELD); Paterson, Book I, 1948 (book V was published in 1958; The Desert Music and Other Poems 1954 and Pictures from Brueghel and Other Poems, 1962, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize posthumously in 1963. During WWI, he was associated with a group of artists that included Marcel Duchamp and later was published in the special Objectivists edition of Poetry Magazine, February 1931. He hated the influence of T.S. Eliot, saying his work had set back American poetry 100 years. He wrote plays and prose, was denied a post as a consultant to the Library of Congress (the forerunner of the Poet Laureate position) in 1952/3, a victim of the McCarthy era red-baiting, and was a huge influence on the Beat Generation, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Black Mountain and New York Schools of poetry. Charles Olson, Robert Creeley and Denise Levertov are three of the main close influences of WCW. Died March 4, 1963.

b)      Read: In Chains, This is Just to Say, intro of The Wedge; excerpt from Paterson and excerpt from Asphodel, That Greeny Flower.

10)      Writing Exercise Three Phrase Acrostic.



Week II