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ENG118 - The Aesthetics of Seeing: Poetry as Witness


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Course Long Title

The Aesthetics of Seeing: Poetry as Witness


This course explores poetry profoundly influenced by poets’ lived experiences as witnesses. Often the aesthetic of witness is one based in the traumatic: war, abuse, exile, and injustice. But this witnessing can also be the experience of observing kindness, joy, and beauty during times of inhumanity. The course examines how poets use what they have seen, what they have witnessed, to make poems. In effect, poetry preserves memories of the unmemorable. The course studies poems by Carolyn Forche, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Mahmoud Darwish, among others. Classes are discussion-based and include close readings of poems, group exercises, and short papers.

Writing Credit

No writing credit

Departmental Course Attributes - Major/Minor Requirements

(English: Post-1800)