Lyric Poetry



hello I'm Peter Medine professor of English at the University of Arizona where I've taught since 1969 I've been associated with the College of Humanities seminars program since 1997 and during that time I've taught 10 or so seminars and this coming semester the spring semester on Thursday afternoons I shall be offering a seminar in lyric poetry a lyric poetry I mean poems that are relatively short poems that are in the first-person and poems whose subject matter is of a highly charged emotional nature it's important to recognize that lyric poetry is not simply about romantic love about ideals and beauty and so on much is quite realistic indeed grim the remarkable Welsh poet Dylan Thomas wrote a poem as his father was dying the last days of his terminal illness in fact lyric poetry embraces a very wide range of topics and of themes love and death certainly but also war politics religious experience in even poetry itself the procedure in the seminar will be to read several poems each each class meeting to listen to them and to look at the way that the poets are put the poems together by looking at the craft of poetry we get a very good sense of the of the of the literal meaning of the poem as well as the larger issues of poetic significance of thematic implications and so on one point that will emerge from our discussion is the fact that lyric poetry approaches music whatever else lyric poetry is it depends on rhythm it depends on sound it depends even on volume and pitch of sound Goethe wrote that a lyric poem was never fully realized until it was set to music and so each day of our meetings we will conclude by looking at a couple of German poems with English translations that have been set to me we'll analyze them and then we'll listen to them being performed in 1942 the British poet WH Auden wrote that poets make Nothing happen about a hundred and twenty years before that Shelley wrote that poets were the unacknowledged legislators of the world I've vacillated between those two views of poetry for over fifty years but I've never wavered in my conviction that humanity without poetry was inconceivable lyric poetry criticizes life lyric poetry celebrates life lyric poetry above all illuminates life so if you have a passion for poetry or if you simply like to learn a little more about it I urge you to consider in joining our seminar seminar in lyric poetry it's a seminar I think that we'll both delight and instruct in the best oration sense thank you very much

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