The Music in My Head: Five Ways of Hearing a Poem
The great poet Etheridge Knight said, “Making jazz swing in / Seventeen syllables AIN’T / No square poet’s job,” but what is a poem that doesn’t embrace its inner music? In this 1 week intensive course, we will look at 5 different ways to make the sounds in a poem more melodious: lines, rhymes, repetition, interior sounds, and exterior sounds. We will read a range of poets who will illustrate each type of music making and will also consider ways in which to implement these types of music in our own work.
In addition to freewriting and other generative exercises, students will be expected to work on 3 different poems during the week: one that is newly generated (based on a prompt), one that is a revision of a recently written poem, and one wholesale revision of an older poem. At the end of the course, each student will receive an email with additional suggestions and ideas related to the work we’ve done together.
Adrian Matejka is the author of six books, most recently a mixed media collection inspired by Funkadelic, Standing on the Verge & Maggot Brain (Third Man Books, 2021), and a collection of poems Somebody Else Sold the World (Penguin, 2021). His book The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize in poetry. Among Matejka’s other honors are fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and a Simon Fellowship from United States Artists. He is the Ruth Lilly Professor of Poetry at Indiana University Bloomington and was Poet Laureate of the state of Indiana in 2018-19.