If you could create your own class with the block plan, what would your class consist of?
I believe that every writer’s style can basically be described as a mosaic, consisting of fragments of childhood memories, a string of English teachers, and most notably, scraps of stanzas from each poem they have ever read. Shards of glass, seemingly random and rather insignificant, compromise the mosaic of every great writer. And so, you see, the great Muses of literature, are not dying, they are multiplying. I would design my course to take advantage of the works of all great writers, as I consider each one a Muse themselves.
In my three-and-a-half-week course, I would aim to investigate the notion and importance of poetic style and use the voices of other poets as inspiration to critique and perfect my own poetry.
The first day would be spent researching the concept of poetic style and voice, its importance and implications, noting how each poet developed their own voice and its influences on his/her success. I would also write a poem of my own, not about anything in particular, but something I feel truly sounds like me.
After that, I would spend each day focusing on a different poet, each successful in their own ways. I would select poets from all periods and genres: the baroque era, beat poets, Greek lovers, pretentious Englishmen, gay rights poets, Civil Rights poets, Civil War poets. I would spend a day on all the greats: Maya Angelou, e.e. Cummings, Robert Frost, Lord Byron, Andrea Gibson, and insist on devoting a day to those lesser known. The entirety of each class would focus on a singular poets. His/her birth, childhood, death, native country, heritage, language, parents, children, mental state, religion, political views, and every minute thing that may have influenced or inspired a poem. I would look at the first poem ever published and the last ever written and as many as I had time for from in between. Each class would act as a complete immersion into the life of the poet and the factors that molded their voice.
Each night, the assignment would be to write some form of poem inspired in some way by the poet studied in class. An homage, a response, a critique, an imitation of his/her voice. Anything specific I was able to glean from the poet’s life and works and in some way, make it a part of my own.
At the end of the block, not only will I have a hefty portfolio to show off, I will have completely remade my mosaic. I will throw away the shards that do not fit, move the ones that didn’t look quite right, and add a plethora of pieces. My mosaic would now consist of other poet’s words, rhetoric, wit, and maybe a flash of their white teeth, or a sample of their tears. In three weeks, I would create a picture and a poem made up of tiny tiles of everyone else, yet entirely my own.