Lit/General 163A
Modern and Postmodern Poetry [I]
TuTh 1:00-2:20
Warren Lecture Hall 2115

A survey of early twentieth-century avant-garde poetry as a vehicle for the transformation of society and mind. We will look both at individual poets and at those movements (Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Negritude, etc.) that covered a wide spectrum of arts - not only poetry and related forms of writing and performance but painting, sculpture, film, and what later came to be called intermedia. In doing so we will pay particular attention to how the new poetry and art developed through collage, chance operations, dream, and in "the art of writing the manifesto."

Textbooks: J. Rothenberg and P. Joris, Poems for the Millennium (volume one: From Fin-de-Siècle to Negritude); M. Perloff, The Futurist Moment; xeroxed volume of supplementary readings (available from CalCopy).

Course requirements include a midterm, a term paper or equivalent creative project, & a (take-home) final. Depending on class size, short seminar-style reports (related to the term paper) may also be required.

1/9-1/11 The New Spirit in Poetry & Art
Readings. M. Perloff, Chapter One. From Millennium: "Introduction," "Forerunners," & "A First Gallery," especially works by & commentaries on Mallarmé (pp. 47-49, 53-76), Stein (99-105), Apollinaire (119-131), Cendrars, (160-172), Reverdy (180-185), Pound (153-157), Huidobro (185-190). [xerox] G. Stein, "Composition as Explanation."

1/16-1/18 The Invention of Collage and The Word Set Free

Readings. M. Perloff: Chapters Two and Four. From Millennium: S. Mallarmé, "A Throw of the Dice" (53-76); G. Stein, all poems in Gallery One (99-105); Pablo Picasso, "A Bottle of Suze" (132-134); E. Pound, "Canto One" (154-156); Prologues to Futurism (I) [193-194] and (II) [220-221]; C. Carrà, "Demonstration for Intervention in the War" (195); F.T. Marinetti, "Après la Marne (199), "Zang Tumb Tuuum" (200-205) & "Variety Theater Manifesto" (207-209); Futurist performances by Cangiullo, Marinetti, & Depero (210-215); V. Kamensky, "Ferro- Concrete Poem" (222); all selections from Khlebnikov (223-230), Kruchenykh (232-237); A.Stern, Europa (251-260). SUPPLEMENTARY READING: P. Hulten, Futurism and Futurisms; V. Markov, Russian Futurism.

1/23 The Art of Making Manifestos

Readings. M. Perloff: Chapter Three. From Millennium: F.T. Marinetti, "Manifesto of Futurism" (196-198); D. Burliuk, et al., "from A Slap in the Face of Public Taste"; A. Kruchenykh, "Declaration of the Word as Such" (231); T. Tzara, "from Dada Manifesto on Feeble & Bitter Love" (527-528); A. Breton, "from Manifesto of Surrealism" (468-470); E. Pound, "Vortex Pound" (527-528).

1/25 Kandinsky's Expressionism & That of Benn & Others:

The Spiritual in Art & the Odor of Annihilation Readings. From Millennium: "Prologue to Expressionism"; all poems in Expressionism section, but especially by Kandinsky (266-277), Lasker-Schüler (268-271), Benn (277- 281), Stramm (271-273), Trakl (281-285). [xerox]: W. Kandinsky, "from Concerning the Spiritual in Art." SUPPLEMENTARY READING: W. Kandinsky & F. Marc, The Blaue Reiter Almanach.

1/30-2/1 Rilke at Duino & Some Other Visionary Poets

Readings. From Millennium: W. Blake, "Obey thou the Words of the Inspired Man" (pp. 21-24); A. Rimbaud, "from A Season in Hell" (42-44); A. Wölfli, all selections (80-86); R.M. Rilke, First and Eighth Duino Elegies (108-111, 352-355); M. Jacob, "1914" (112); R. Desnos, "Trance Event" (470-471); W.B. Yeats, "from A Vision and The Second Coming" (345-346); A. Akhmatova, "Requiem" (585-593); Orpingalik, "Songs are thoughts sung out with the breath" (735); M. Sabina, "from The Midnight Velada (765-767)."

2/6-2/8 Vortex.Pound and the Emergence of an"Objectivists"

Line in American Modernism
Readings. M. Perloff, Chapter Five. From Millennium: Ezra Pound, all poems (153-157, 367-372, 527-528, 734); William Carlos Williams, all poems (360-363, 529-533); H.D., all poems (372-379); Mina Loy, all poems (136-141); "Objectivists" section, complete (525-556), plus Louis Zukofsky (679-686); Lorine Niedecker, all poems (661-666). [xerox]: T.S. Eliot/Ezra Pound, "A Page from The Waste Land." SUPPLEMENTARY READING: H. Kenner, The Pound Era; M. Heller, Conviction's Net of Branches: Essays on the Objectivist Poets and Poetry.

2/13 Toward a New Epic Writing: The Poem Including History

Readings. From Millennium: the excerpts from Pound's Cantos (154-157, 367-372, 773-774), W.C. Williams' Paterson (360-363), Zukofsky's "A" (682-685), Huidobro's Altazor (406- 416), Césaire's Notebook of a Return to the Native Land (575- 580). Also: Pessoa's Martitime Ode (148-151), Marintetti's Zand Tumb Tuuum (200-205), H.D.'s The Walls Do Not Fall [from Trilogy] (372-378), St.-John Perse's Anabasis (383-385), Charles Reznikoff's Testimony (546-551), Anna Akhmatova's Requiem (585-593), René Char's Leaves of Hypnos (702-706), Muriel Rukeyser's "The Dam" [from U.S. 1] (724-727).

2/15 Dada in Zurich: The Cabaret Voltaire

Readings. From Millennium: "Prologue to Dada" & the rest of the Dada section, especially selections from Ball (291-297), Tzara (291, 297-306,496-499), Huelsenbeck (306-309), and Duchamp (173-176, 323-325). [xerox]: H. Richter, "from Dada: Art & Anti-Art [Cabaret Voltaire]. SUPPLEMENTARY READING: R. Motherwell, The Dada Painters & Poets; L. Lippard, Dadas on Art.

2/20-2/22 Four Artist-Poets: Arp, Picabia, Schwitters, Ernst

Guest lecturer (2/22): Pierre Joris.
Readings. From Millennium: All works by Arp (310- 314), Picabia (315-322), Schwitters (327-333), Ernst (506-514). [xerox]: K. Schwitters, "Merz"; H. Arp, "Dada Was Not a Farce"; M. Ernst, "What Is Collage?"

2/27-2/29 The Surrealist Revolution: The Poetics & Politics of Dream

Readings. From Millennium: "Prologue to Surrealism" & all poems in Surrealism section, but especially "Trance Events" (470-471), "Language Events" (472-473), & those by Breton (38- 341, 468-470, 474-481, 501-504) and Desnos (492-495) [xerox]: A. Breton, "Surrealism"; L. Buñuel & S. Dali, "An Andalusian Dog" (scenario). SUPPLEMENTARY READING: L. Lippard, Surrealists on Art; M. Jean, The Autobiography of Surrealism. [Special session for class event and showing of Dada and Surrealist films - to be announced.]

3/5 Antonin Artaud & the Attack on Writing

Readings. From Millennium: A. Artaud, "All Writing Is Garbage," "A Spurt of Blood" & commentary (515-521). [xerox] A. Artaud, "Letter to André Breton."

3/7 Negritude & the Art of Aimé Césaire

Readings. From Millennium: "Prologue to Negritude" & all poems in the Negritude Section, especially those by Césaire (516, 575-582, & also 751-752), plus poems by J. de Lima (417- 421), N. Guillén (666-673), L. Hughes (651- 656), M. Tolson (609- 614), & African & African-derived works in the oral tradition (746- 750, 783-789). SUPPLEMENTARY READING James A.Arnold, Modernism & Negritude: the Poetry & Poetics of Aimé Césaire.

3/12-3/14 The Search for Origins: Toward a Global Poetics

Readings. From Millennium: "A Book of Origins" (pp. 731-795) Note. As the class discussion develops, the preceding readings will likely be supplemented by further suggested readings from Poems for the Millennium and other sources. Students who come across old or new favorites absent from these pages should bring them to the attention of the instructor and other class participants.