Advanced Poetry Writing: The Self-Portrait Poem

Course Code
ENOW 4830
Lisa Spaar

We live in an age of easy and ubiquitous self-portrayal. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, YouTube, and other digital and cellular “galleries” allow a protean array of venues in which to post, curate, manipulate, filter, and remove visual images and verbal profiles of “the self” with what seems like a faster than real-time alacrity. This proliferation of self-portraiture is so rampant that it’s possible for viewers and readers to become inured to its magic, craft, and power. In this course, we will use self-portraiture as a lens to explore what we can learn from our human fascination with self portrayal. We will investigate the self in poetry through manifold lenses, indirection, and what Anne Carson would call poetic “ruses." Although the ostensible subject is the writer, focusing our creative work on selfhood will allow us to explore the intention, too, of foregrounding the processes by and reasons why we make art.