What is the course about?
We shall discuss a representative selection of O’Hara’s poems against the background of his art criticism and the creative milieu in which he flourished. In the process, we shall explore O’Hara’s remarkable evolution both as poet and as cultural impresario, while gaining insight into the vibrant New York scene in which he played a such a distinctive role. (Wherever possible, we shall listen to recordings of O’Hara reading his own poems).
What will we cover?
Starting with poetry’s source in song, we shall look at how poets offer contrasting views of nature, urban life, and love.
As well as lyric poetry, we shall consider important verse forms, particularly the sonnet, blank verse and free verse. The work of Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth and Hopkins will be discussed alongside major 20C poets such as Wallace Stevens, Robert Creeley and Basil Bunting. Throughout the course we shall focus on how poetic technique creates meaning. In the process we shall illuminate the art of poetry and begin to understand how it is that poets speak to us across cultures and centuries.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
Demonstrate understanding of the distinctive characteristics of O’Hara’s highly original poetics.
Identify how the poet’s times and circumstances affected – and expressed themselves through – his work.
Appreciate the continuing relevance and importance of O’Hara’s achievement.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
No particular prior knowledge will be assumed, but you will need to feel enthusiastic about the prospect of reading and discussing O’Hara’s writing. You will interested in listening to – and learning from – the responses of other students to the work discussed.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
Teacher explanation; group discussion.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
You will be provided with photocopies of the all the poems to be studied. Please bring a pen and paper.
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Look for other poetry courses under History, Culture and Writing at www.citylit.ac.uk.