Opening Lecture for Graduate Workshop

Below are the first two pages of Goedicke's notes for her opening lecture to her Spring 2002 graduate poetry workshop. Because these notes are so complete and detailed, they provide a unique glimpse into Goedicke’s perspective on her craft. I have selected the first two pages because they describe Goedicke's personal and intellectual interest in poetry.  Sections not included, which you may view by clicking on the pages pictured below, discuss the role of accident or coincidence in poetry, the importance of play and experimentation in a writer's practice, and the basic structure of the class.  Next to each page are Goedicke's primary points, along with selected quotes and quotes by others referred to in the notes.

On this page, Goedicke identifies four qualities of poetry of interest to her:
1. playing with words
2. the way images + the form of a poem make one able to say so many different things at once
3. the way words sound in the mouth
4. love music and music of poetry...rhythm in particular

on the play of words in poetry:
"they [words] contain images; hence the appeal to the body and the mind"

on the feel of words in the mouth:
quoting Donald Hall “the dark mouth of the vowel through which the mage tells its secret runes”

on the many layers of meaning conveyed in poems:
citing Ezra Pound's definition of poetry "that which forms an emotional and intellectual complex in an instant of time"

on music and poetry:
"Overall [a poem] may be rushing, excited, forceful, and then suddenly, as the sense of the poem requires, perhaps quiet, languorous."
"All sorts of things [one] can do with prosody, with meter, with refrain + repetition, + in free verse, esp with line breaks, enjambments, end stops, internal caesurae..."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On this page, Goedicke describes how poetry allows one "to make intimate contact with others"
Beginning in point 1 with the idea that we are trapped inside our own bodies, she states in point 2 that poems can make one "feel as if [they] do understand you." Poems do this, she argues in point 3 through imagery.

on imagery:
“we all have the same bodies, made up of the same 5 senses”
quoting Stanley Burnshaw, "Poetry begins in the body and ends in the body." Poetry begins with the 5 senses of the poet and is communicated to the reader through imagery which appeals to the senses.

on poetry and intimacy:
quoting Czeslaw Milosz, “The purpose of poetry is to remind us / how difficult it is to remain just one person, / for our house is open, there are no keys in the door, / and invisible guests come in and out at will."
"It's the feelings that do it. Physical feelings combined with the intellect."
poetry is "feeling put into words"
"our physical sensations, are always churning around in those instants of time we all live in, each a huge boiling complex of sensation + half formed ideas."