Syllabus (Revised)

Poetry New York



Faculty:                    Office:                       Contact Information:                    Office Hours:

Leonard Schwartz    Com 360         867-5412       Friday: 2 -3

Program assistant: Claire Sammons    360.259.4998


Program Description:

The goal of Poetry New York is to immerse students in an intense and various writing community, both as writers of poetry themselves and as critical writers. Daily contact with practicing writers, poets, translators, and publishers will advance each student's writing horizons and range of reading possibilities, demystifying the practice and profession of writing while inspiring students to advance in their own art.

This field study program features an immersion in New York City 's poetry, literary and publishing worlds. We will spend two weeks on campus preparing for our trip by way of various readings in New York 's literary history and in The New York School of Poets. The program will then fly to New York City for six weeks, where we will take up classroom residency at The Bowery Poetry Club, on Manhattan 's Lower East Side . By arrangement with the Club we will use its space as a classroom for daily meetings, as a venue for our own readings and as locale for attending readings. The Bowery Poetry Club is a cafe, classroom and stage space that currently serves as the center for numerous literary scenes in NYC, including those of an experimental tradition, a spoken word and performance tradition, and various ethnically identified writing scenes.

Students will pursue their own writing, write critical pieces on the poetry they hear, read, interview poets they meet, and be required to attend at least one event a day (or night) across the city: The Bowery Poetry Club, The St. Marks Poetry Project, The Academy of American Poets, The New York Public Library, and so on, are all options for students to pursue their writing. Projects will include working on poems to appear in public spaces in the city, working collaboratively on translations of poets in town writing in other languages, and writing reviews of the performances we attend. Field trips will also be arranged to the offices of various publishers of the instructor's acquaintance to study, close up, the way in which literature is made. Some of these publishers might include: New Directions Publishing Company, The New York Review Of Books, Archipelago Books, Seven Stories Press, etc.

The final two weeks of the quarter will be spent back on campus in Olympia , debriefing, finishing poems and essays, and producing an anthology of our work.



Winter Class Schedule and Rooms:

  Class schedule for weeks 1 and 2:


Tuesday, 10AM-1PM (Sem 2 A2105)

Wednesday, 10AM- 1PM (Sem 2 B2109)

Thursday.  10AM- 1PM (Sem 2, B2109)


Weeks 3 through 8 at The Bowery Poetry Club, NYC

   (308 Bowery, NY , NY 10012 )

Mondays - 1PM to 5PM

Tuesdays – 3PM to 5PM class meeting: 5PM to 7PM guest poet readings

4/15: Rodrigo Toscano, Kristen Prevallet   4/22: Book Party for Mercedes Roffe and LS
4/29: Matvei Yankelevich, Anna Moschovokis   5/06: Julie Patton, Charles Bernstein

5/13: Student Reading  5/20: Student Reading


Wednesdays – 3PM to 9PM


Weeks 9 and 10 in Olympia


Tuesday, 10AM-1PM (Sem 2 A2105)

Wednesday, 10AM- 1PM (Sem 2 2109)

Thursday.  10AM- 1PM (Sem 2, B2109)


Required Texts:


Barbara Guest, Forces Of Imagination, Kelsey St. Press (week 1)

Ann Lauterbach, If In Time: Selected Poems, Penguin  (week 1)

Ezra Pound, The ABC Of Reading, New Directions  (week 2)

Rodrigo Toscano, To Leveling Swerve, Krupaskaya  (week 2)

John Ashbery, Notes From The Air, Ecco Press

Hart Crane, The Bridge, Liveright Publishing Corporation

Ann Waldman, Iovis: All Is Full of Jove, Coffee House Press


Photocopy: Sontag, Waldman, Guest texts



Recommended Texts:


David Lehman, The Last Avant Garde, Doubleday 

Hoover, Paul: Fables Of Representation, University of Michigan Press

Frank O’Hara, The Selected Poems of Frank O’Hara, University of California Press




Program Assignments for Credit:


All Required Book Readings , In Class Participation


Attend four Poetry readings or performances a week:

write two Book Reviews or Poetry Reading Reviews a week

to be posted on the program web site.


Weekly writing prompts (constraint based writing)


Independent Projects




Important NY Dates



4/25, Book Party for Language For A New Century: Contemporary Poetry from The Middle East and Beyond, (Norton), The Rubin Museum Of Art, 150 West 17th Street  (recommended), 7PM to 10PM


4/26, A Tribute to Barbara Guest   (required)
Saturday, 1:00 pm , St. Marks Poetry Project

Barbara Guest (1920–2006) published over twenty volumes of poetry including The Countess of Minneapolis , Fair Realism and The Red Gaze, and earned awards including the Robert Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Society of America. Join John Ashbery, Charles Bernstein, Susan Bee, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Peter Gizzi, Kathleen Fraser (pre-recorded), Hadley Guest, Erica Kaufman, Charles North, Rena Rosenwasser, Richard Tuttle, Africa Wayne and Marjorie Welish in a celebration of Guest’s life and work, as well as the forthcoming The Collected Poems of Barbara Guest by Wesleyan University Press. Co-sponsored with The Poetry Society of America .  The Poetry Project at St. Marks Church 131 E. 10th St. New York NY 10003 212-674-0910


Monday, 4/28 Mayakovsky Book Party, 4/28, Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Time, TBA (recommended)


4/30 Forrest Gander & Joan Retallack  (required, St. Marks)
Wednesday, 8:00 pm

Forrest Gander has edited several anthologies of work in translation and translated individual books by Mexican and Latin American writers, most recently Firefly Under the Tongue: Selected Poems of Coral Bracho (New Directions, 2008). His own most recent titles include Eye Against Eye (poems, New Directions, 2005) and the novel As a Friend (New Directions, 2008). Joan Retallack is the author of seven volumes of poetry including Memnoir, Mongrelisme, How To Do Things With Words, Afterrimages, and Errata 5uite which won the Columbia Book Award chosen by Robert Creeley. Currently at work on a collection of her procedural poetry and an ongoing, multi-genre project (“The Reinvention of Truth”) Retallack is the author of Musicage: John Cage in Conversation with Joan Retallack, Wesleyan University Press, recipient of the America Award in Belles-Lettres. Poetry and Pedagogy: The Challenge of the Contemporary (Palgrave MacMillan, co-edited with Juliana Spahr) came out in 2006. The Poethical Wager, a book of Retallack’s essays, was published in 2004 by the University of California Press which has just brought out Gertrude Stein: Selections edited and introduced by Retallack. Participation in an international meeting of poets on “Poetry and Violence” at the University of Coimbra, Portugal last May led to the polylingual collaboration with Forrest Gander from which they will read at this event. Retallack is John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Humanities at Bard College .



5/01: Penn Press Reading (Recommended)


      Pen Press: Plaquettes de Poesía

A Celebration of Poetry & Translation

This event is scheduled for Thursday,  May 1st - 7:00 PM

Readings will be in English and in Spanish translation.

McNally Robinson Bookstore



5/07: Kevin Davies & Nada Gordon (St. Marks, required)
Wednesday, 8:00 pm

Kevin Davies is a petite bourgeois lyric poet who lives in Brooklyn . His objectively reactionary verses are gathered in The Golden Age of Paraphernalia (just out from Edge), Comp. (2000, also from Edge), and Pause Button (Tsunami Editions, 1992; reissued online by the haute bourgeois /ubu editions). Nada Gordon is the author of four poetry books: Folly, V. Imp., Are Not Our Lowing Heifers Sleeker than Night-Swollen Mushrooms?, foreign bodies and, with Gary Sullivan, an e-pistolary techno-romantic non-fiction novel, Swoon. She practices poetry as deep entertainment and is a proud member of the Flarflist Collective.


5/17, 2 to 4: Toscano’s Collapsible Poetics Theater Performance, Bowery Poetry Club

Submitted by admin on Tue, 01/02/2007 - 2:29pm. printer friendly version