Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 quarters
From Heraclitus and Nietzsche to Blanchot and Levinas, philosophers have sought to speak as poets: to recreate the language of their tradition in order to speak the ineffable, truths of intuition and experience which seem to lie beyond language as commonly conceived. From Homer to Mallarmé, Artaud or Pound, poets have revealed through their enigmatic languages, truths of our existence and the nature of the world. Poets engage in epistemological inquiry, ask metaphysical questions; philosophers use metaphorical language, symbol, aphorism or parable, as vehicles of insight. In this program we will study a select group of philosophers who, in the wake of Friedrich Nietzsche, write and think as poets and conversely, those poets who write and think philosophically. From Wallace Stevens, there is a lineage of American poetry, which draws from continental philosophy.
We will consider how it is that a writer's words open into a multitude of interpretations, or that a symbol, as philosopher Paul Ricoeur writes, points toward a meaning otherwise inaccessible. The poets and philosophers whom we will study never relent in their fascination with the diverse avenues of knowing, or with reconceiving their means of expression; they act with the reckless abandon of the free spirit described by Nietzsche in his essay, "On Truth and Lie in an Extramoral Sense," daring to “speak only in forbidden metaphors.”
We will examine works embedded in the creative power of myth and the artist-writer’s work as a ritual gesture.
All students will read, write and analyze poetic, philosophical and critical texts; will discuss key theorists in aesthetic theory, and will choose between two series of workshop/seminars: either poetics/creative writing or philosophy/Nietzsche and his work’s influence on contemporary writing. Over the two quarters of this program, students will develop and complete a major personal project. This substantial body of work, students will conceive during Fall quarter, and carry through by the close of winter quarter; this offers serious writers of poetry, theory, philosophy and interpretation the opportunity to undertake a collection of philosophical/poetic experimental writings, a performance/spectacle, or an interpretive work on philosophy or literature.
This upper-division program demands a serious commitment of time and effort; the works which we will read are difficult; the writings we expect substantive. We welcome serious students of philosophy, poetics and theory, those capable of designing and carrying through a major independent writing project.
Fields of Study
Preparatory for studies or careers in
Location and Schedule
Offered during: Day