9:30 am - 12:30 pm
Poetry of the War in Viet Nam War provides a compelling case study of war literature in general, showcasing many of its major themes while refracting those themes through the formal demands of the lyric. Examining a diverse collection of poets—including Allen Ginsberg, W.D. Erhard, Denise Levertov, Clarence Major, Yusef Komunyakaa, Carmen Tafolla, Alberto Ríos, and Tran Thi Nga—the goal of this seminar will be to identify major tropes and themes of Viet Nam-era war poetry in general, and then to discuss how shifting notions of race manifest themselves in the same poems. Seminar participants will pay particular attention to how various poems represent authenticity, a concept whose experiential limits were challenged during the war but whose racial dimensions have proven more durable. What does it mean to feel authentic, or more specifically, authentically black, Latino, or American? How do war poems represent authenticity under extreme pressure? What are the limits and potential of the lyric poem for responding to the traumas of war?
Seminar led by John Alba Cutler, Northwestern University
Newberry Teachers’ Consortium is a subscription program open to Chicago-area teachers.