June 3, 2023

    June 3, 2023  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

    Registration: https://classroom.ruthstonehouse.org/shop/on-the-sublime-writing-the-contemporary-ode

    “the ode [is] the perfect means of expressing the sublime”

    —Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics

    Since the Greeks, that nebulous poetic form known as the ode (if we can even call it a “form”) has been associated with praise, but also — and more importantly — with rhetorical, emotional, and even topographical “height.” The odes of Pindar celebrate the virtues of warriors and athletic heroes, but by the eighteenth century, odes very often depict Romantic mountains, crags, and deep-cleft cliffs. Yet even in the classical period, as in the crucial treatise of Longinus, the feeling associated with this form — the sublime — slips between emotional and physical elevation. (Longinus’s Peri Hypsous can be translated, for instance, as “On the Sublime” or, more accurately, “On Height.”) In the modern world, this baffling juncture between the physically and emotionally “high” spurs Immanuel Kant to declare that sublime objects “over-bear the mind” and “cast it into a pleasing kind of stupor and admiration.” Hybridizing elements of the writing workshop and the literary seminar, this course investigates the contentious relationship between sublimity and the ode. How, we might ask, does this type of poem capture such a curious (mis)alignment of emotion and physical space? How might the emotional power of the ode be used to interrogate other subjects? Might we, as poets, utilize the ode or the “pleasing stupor” it evokes to refigure our human relationship to a rapidly changing physical environment? Readings will range from the classical period to the contemporary, including works by Pindar, Horace, William Collins, Percy Shelley, Anne Carson, Jorie Graham, Pablo Neruda, Brian Teare, Benjamin Garcia, José Olivarez, and others. We will conclude by attempting to compose our own odes and workshopping these pieces together as a class.

    ***No experience with the ode or poetic form is necessary for this class. I ask only that you approach this course with a willingness to read and to think adventurously.

    See more details

July 3, 2023
July 4, 2023
July 5, 2023
July 6, 2023
July 7, 2023
July 8, 2023
July 9, 2023

Join the mailing list