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Poetry of Love and Loss 

Department: Literature                                             

Instructor: Lucas Bailor
Instructor's Email: 
Prerequisites: none 

Schedule: Zoom (M-F 10:00am - 12:00pm PST)

Course Description

This creative writing course will focus on the history of poems dealing with all types of love and loss. Through reading poems throughout history pertaining to these critical parts of the human experience, we will talk about what makes these poems successful in eliciting feeling and proceed to practice this in writing original poems. The course will consider much broader ideas of love than just romantic, including focusing on poems of platonic love, pet love, and more abstract types of love, while also looking at loss as it pertains to life, romance, friendship, and so on. The way these types of poems intersect will be of primary importance, as we will analyze the similarities among all these types of poetry in order to better understand how these poems operate and how to write them.

While this course might seem specifically tailored to students who want to go into the humanities, the course will offer space for the relevance of any given field both in writing (particularly through metaphor) and offering new paths of understanding poems based on students’ different backgrounds. This course is a reminder that love and loss are things we all deal with, and in understanding the history of artistic portrayals around these complex topics, we might understand those topics and how to write about them in new, interesting ways.

Course Goals / Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to identify poetic techniques and apply them in their own writing.
  • Students will be able to read poems to uncover layers of meaning beyond surface level associations.
  • Students will be able to utilize personal experience in order to write creative assignments that prioritize emotional experience.
  • Students will gain access to a collection of poets, contemporary and otherwise, and be able to make connections between different poets and how to find other poets.

Topical Outline

  • Poetry
    • History
    • Techniques
    • Terms and tools in creating poetry
  • Creative Writing
    • Writing practice
    • Accessing personal experience in writing
    • Discovering the tradition in which creative writing exists
  • Relationship of love and loss to art
    • History and examples
    • Different types and styles for addressing these emotions

*Courses vary by experience and exposure to content. Instructors have the ability to change content and pace to serve the needs of students. Courses have been modified for online teaching.