In this workshop, we will write poems based on some of the major themes present in the poems of the great German-language Modernist poet Rainer Maria Rilke. As a poet and thinker Rilke returned to a handful of ideas which he incorporated into his poems over many years. During our time together, we will look at English translations of a number of his greatest poems that examine the themes of death and resurrection, his concept of “das Offene,” (“the Openness”), his “Ding-Gedichte,” or “Thing-poems,” and his pairing of the Duino Elegies with the Sonnets to Orpheus. Each week there will be a writing prompt based on Rilke’s poetics aimed at sparking the generation of your own poems. The course will also consist of readings of Rilke’s poems, and lecture/essays from me on the poems and their thematic forces. We will then engage in an online discussion of your work that is supportive, humane and critically acute. All readings will be in English with German text provided as well.
LIVE ELEMENTS: Students can join an optional Welcome session on the first day of class, held on Zoom.
During the final week of class, students will have the option to participate in a virtual reading, held on Zoom.
Mark Wunderlich's most recent book is God of Nothingness, published by Graywolf Press. His other books include The Earth Avails, which received the Rilke Prize, Voluntary Servitude, and The Anchorage, which received the Lambda Literary Award. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment of the Arts, Civitella Ranieri Foundation, the Fine Arts Work Center, and elsewhere. He is Executive Director of the Bennington Writing Seminars graduate writing program, and also serves as Chair of the Writing Committee at FAWC.