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Pattern Poetry
Spring 2009

Suggested Readings:

An Anthology of Concrete Poetry. Ed. Emmett Williams, Something Else Press, 1967.

Pattern Poetry. Ed. Dick Higgins.

Concrete Poetry: A World View. Ed. Mary Ellen Solt.

Jan 18 Phonetic Patterns: transcribe one of your poems using International Phonetic Alphabet, color code the patterns and create a visual work out of the result (a painting, rug, sweater, etc. Read excerpts of Mary Carruthers The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric, and the Making of Images, 400-1200.

Jan 25 Simple Scaffolds: Acrostics, Telestics, and Mesostics.

Feb 1 Early Western Pattern Poetry: Greek and English Eggs and Altars, including George Herbert’s The Temple. Assignment: Compose a poem sequence that is a house or a sanctuary.

Feb 8 Viewing Day: Visit to the Metropolitan Museum: Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Cuneiform, Islamic Rugs. Make your own language. Take the pattern of a Persian rug and use it as the formula for a poem. Suggested reading: The Chinese Written Character as a Medium for Poetry by Ernest Fenollosa.

Feb 15 Eastern Pattern Poetry: the Wife-of-a-Chinese-Court-Official-Composes-a-40,000-Direction-Invective-Poem. Write a pattern poem/maze that can be read in multiple directions. (See also Raymond Queneau's “One Hundred Thousand Billion Sonnets”).

Feb 22 Rebuses, magic spells, and lapidary inscriptions. Read excerpts of the Greek Anthology.

Mar 1 Mathematical Poems: An Overview of Oulipo. The 20 Consonant Poem.

Mar 8 Musical Patterns: The Cancrizan. Compose a cancrizan and perform it w/ voice and/or instruments.

Mar 15 Ian Hamilton Finlay’s Poor. Old. Tired. Horse., Little Sparta.

Mar 22 Works by B. P Nichol, Hannah Wiener, Ward Tietz, and Bill Luoma’s Swoon Rocket and other poems.