The Art of Poetry | BUx on edX | Course About Video

Poetry can’t create emotion as immediately and reliably as music. Poetry can’t present an image as
dazzling and immediate as video, or film. Poetry sometimes persuades, but
poetry can’t persuade as forcefully as a really skillful
preacher or politician. What poetry can do is, come out of each
person’s somatic, physical imagination. The medium for a poem is your voice. STUDENT 1: I don’t really think that
you can imagine a world without poetry. It’s one of the oldest forms of
communication that we’ve had. STUDENT 2: To me, poetry is just
built into language so tightly. STUDENT 3: It can be abstract,
or it can be literal. And it can be scientific, or not. But every culture has
some way of communicating in that structured language. PROFESSOR ROBERT PINSKY:
You’re being elevated above and beyond a conventional,
automatic relation to the world. You’re going somewhere else. The approach of this course
is not to provide you with a lot of classifications,
terminologies, schools. The focus of this course will
be on the nature of the art and the components of
the art– as an art. STUDENT 4: To make a really
great poem, or piece of art, you don’t just go straight
for what you’re shooting at. You actually sort of want to see
it from all the different angles. STUDENT 5: Each poet is developing
their own country, their own language. And then we need to take that
time to dig in to Andrew Marvell. And to dig in to Marianne Moore. And develop those specific idioms. PROFESSOR ROBERT PINSKY:
To understand an art, you have to understand not only
what the art itself appeals to you, but what your examples of the art are. This course asks that everyone
compile their own anthology. This is my personal anthology. This anthology making is an
exercise I require of all students, in every poetry course I’ve ever taught. I think that assignment is probably
the most useful thing I feel I do, as a teacher. I enjoy it, as a teacher– because,
instead of saying, hey, like poetry. It’ll be good. I’m saying to the
students, what do you have? What do you stand by? STUDENT 6: I’ve always said to friends,
like, oh, poetry– it’s over my head. I’m always saying that. PROFESSOR ROBERT PINSKY:
Well, you’re an engineer. STUDENT 6: I’m an engineer. PROFESSOR ROBERT PINSKY:
And let me tell you that I sometimes refer to
poetry as metrical engineering. The ambition of this course is
to be welcoming to everyone. To people who have very
different professions from mine. People of a range of interests. People interested in poetry because
they have been intimidated by it. Or the opposite– people who
love poetry, maybe write it. Our goal is to make it intellectually
rigorous, and socially welcoming, and friendly. I’m Robert Pinsky. And this is– The Art of Poetry.

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