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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Japhet Johnstone
GEN ST 197
Seattle Campus

Freshman Seminar

Small-group discussion with faculty representing a wide spectrum of academic disciplines. Topics and approaches vary. Instructor may introduce research techniques or findings, concentrate on readings in his/her area of interest, or illustrate problems and alternatives related to the study of a particular academic discipline. Credit/no-credit only. Offered: AWSp.

Class description

This seminar, structured around the UW Common Book 2010/11, explores the intersection of identity and place in poetry and film. We will look at how the poems in the anthology You Are Never Where You Are create, question, or deconstruct an array of identities all rooted in a sense of place. If, as the title suggests, you are never where you are, are you also never who you thought you were? We will try to answer this question through a parallel exploration of films that represent poets and the role of poetry in modern life. We will discuss the connection between poetry, identity, and place in films ranging from the obvious (Dead Poets Society) to the eccentric (Hairspray) to the romantic (The Basketball Diaries). Questions we will ask along the way are: What does it mean to be a poetry reader? How does poetry differ from other forms of artistic self-expression? What happens when poetry crosses the boundary to a different genre and is portrayed in film? Class activities include a visit to a Seattle poetry slam, a group outing to SIFF, and a creative final project about a place of importance to each student. No previous experience with poetry is required.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Japhet Johnstone
Date: 03/10/2011