Poetry and Political Feeling – What is this course?


This course is currently on hiatus over the Summer.  We’ll return for more great poetry in the Fall!

Basically, we’re a group of interested people who are going to come together once a week to read, experience, and reflect on some of the world’s best poetry. What could be better?!

We’re also going to try to use the poetry to train ourselves to relate to the society we live in in a deeper, more nuanced way.

The course is taking place in New York City, so if you live here, you’re in luck. If you live somewhere else, why not get together with some friends and do the online version of the course?

Who is eligible to take part in the course?

Everyone! We’re very welcoming. You don’t need to have a background in poetry. If you’re at all interested in how poetry can help you to feel more broadly and deeply about how our society operates, then come on down.

In case it matters to you one way or another, some of the members of the group will be people who work in universities, in the field of Literature. We’re hoping we can convince them to be open and welcoming with their knowledge, rather than hoarding it to themselves in the academy.  And they’re hoping that the process of discussing literature in a more open – and more openly political – setting will help them to rethink their own professional approach.

How is this course going to be run?

This course will be run by all its members, in the spirit of Occupy Wall Street. This means that we will have a rotating facilitator role, and that decisions about the direction our learning takes will be made by the consensus of the whole learning group. (If you’re new to this terminology, don’t worry – ‘learning groups’ of this kind are actually very simple and enjoyable in practice.)

We will start by following a simple discussion procedure first developed by the Occupy University’s Horizontal Pedagogy Workshop (slightly modified for this course); but we could easily end up proceeding in another way if the group so decides.

Why is this course important, amazing, and not-to-be-missed?

The goal of the course is to learn to use poetry to cultivate our ability to have broader, deeper feelings about the society we live in.

We’re going to be reading and discussing some amazing, amazing poems.
We’re going to develop our capacity to feel things deeply and powerfully.
We’re going to learn a lot about how to care about matters of great political importance in a more subtle and nuanced, but also a deeper and more powerful way.

Why would this be a good (and fun!) thing to do? And why would poetry, of all things, be a good way to do it? Well, if you’re really interested, you’ll find a few additional thoughts here.

When and where?

This course will meet at 3pm every Saturday from May 26th  through June 23rd, as part of Occupy Wall Street’s Summer Disobedience School.

Times and Locations:

Saturday May 26th: Bryant Park, 3pm

Saturday June 2nd: Bryant Park, 3pm

Saturday June 9th: Bryant Park, 3pm

Saturday June 16th: Central Park, 3pm

Saturday June 23rd: Central Park, 3pm

If you’re interested, please get in touch! owsuniversity@gmail.com

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