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The art of losing’s not too hard to master/though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.Elizabeth Bishop
What was Elizabeth Bishop telling herself–and us–with her italicized, parenthetical aside? Was it that the word “disaster” was hard to say? Or was it that there’s a sort of public duty, however painful and scary, in calling a catastrophe what it is? In this webinar, we’ll look at the poems of Elizabeth Bishop, Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, Robert Frost, and Seamus Heaney, with an eye to how they each in their own way transformed fiascos, both personal and political, into poetry.
With an eye to how craft transforms feeling and catalyzes private pain into public art, we’ll work through how individual suffering is transposed into a universal language. And we’ll face the most important question poetry poses in hard times: is poetry here to comfort, or to confront? (And the instructor will tell you about the hour he spent with Seamus Heaney the year before he died, and what the unforgettable passage Heaney signed in his personal copy of the poet’s collected works). For both writers and readers, this webinar will examine how some of the greatest literary minds of the last hundred years articulated disaster, and made music from it.