The Be of Poetry – A Study of Six Poets
Poetry by six of the most significant English language poets of the 20th century will be examined in this six-week program. We’ll begin with poems by W.B. Yeats, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, and Robert Frost in the first four sessions. The final two sessions will explore poems by Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton, two of the most powerful exponents of the intimately personal and emotionally raw confessional school of poetry of the 1950s and 60s. The goal of the series is to discover together, with your active participation, the layered, partially hidden richness of their poems. We will search not only for ‘what’ these poems mean, but more importantly for how, through their use of literal and figurative language, imagery, symbols, allusion, sound, rhythm, and meter, they become the uniquely complex, supple, and powerful creations they are.
“A poem,” said the poet Archibald MacLeish mysteriously, “should not mean but be.” In the discussions, we will try to figure out at least a little of what and how these extraordinary poems ‘be’, and the effort may make better readers of poetry of us all.
Participants will receive biographical information on each poet prior to the start of the series.
This class will meet on six consecutive Mondays beginning February 27 and ending on April 3.
Bill Freedman was born in Newark, NJ, took a PhD in English Literature at the University of Chicago in 1964 and taught in the City University of New York system before moving to Israel in 1969. He taught English literature at the University of Haifa until his retirement in 2004 and, since then, he has taught part-time at the Sakhnin College of Teacher Education in the Arab town of Sakhnin. Bill received an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Antioch University in 1974 and was a practicing psychotherapist until his retirement in 2010. Bill has published books and a number of essays in literary criticism and theory, an oral history of baseball fans, and four books of poetry. He and his wife have a small home in Landgrove, where they spend their summers.