Amaranth C. Borsuk
Explores the relationship between creative arts and research. May focus on performance, visual, or literary arts as well as diverse media. Research may include study of artistic forms as well as specific topics.
This class will explore the way artists and writers have historically used visual approaches to text for social, political, and aesthetic ends. Poets have historically been attuned to issues of line break and layout, but over the years they have also incorporated other visual techniques into their work, from George Herbertís shape poems and William Blakeís illuminated manuscripts to surrealist collages of cut-up language. Visual artists, too, incorporate words into their work, from Marcel Duchampís clever readymades and Tom Phillipsí altered books to Jenny Holzerís projected phrases. These works challenge the dichotomy between art and language, blurring the line between them. Taking poetry as our case study, we will examine visual writing practices from a historical and cross-cultural perspective to ask what is at stake in the mediation and remediation of text.
Student learning goals
To examine the way a textís visual and material qualities influence our reading, understanding of, and interaction with it.
To understand the history and implications for poets of working visually.
To see the work of these writers as embedded within larger social and cultural contexts.
To develop skills in media-specific analysis that are applicable to visual and literary texts.
To build awareness about the range of interdisciplinary artistic practices that influence 20th and 21st-century poetry and discover pathways for future study.
To explore creative expression through visual uses of language.
General method of instruction
No other courses are required, but a background in either poetry or visual arts will be useful.
Class assignments and grading
Students will complete readings, response papers, and creative works in response to those we will study and will maintain an active journal both within and outside of class. Students will also complete a final project with both critical and creative components.