I am concerned with excavating the whole space of emotional life, which is social life. Nothing in Nature is Private: I believe it. And that the poem’s work can be accounting for the constitution of emotional life by force; the emotional life as an effect of being crushed into the shape a self contingent, fresh, wet. Vitality — my life — must stake my poem’s placement and worth, else it become an aesthetic confessing booth, an emptiness to the side of the acts we claim to account for in and around us. Is it possible to get in front of feeling to feel what power is making in the moment? No slant to it. The risks are (literally) spectacular.
This master class will explore the “personal” or “private” statement as an element of a poetry that is asking, What are my boundaries? What passed through me and left me intact? What if I say what happened when “I” was traversed? Fresh hell? Jubilee? Plus, what is the function of figurative language in this thinking and writing? Looking at examples from Harriet Jacobs to Robert Lowell to Khadijah Queen, we’ll consider the poetics of revelation in the work of everyone around the table.