Literature & Writing: Michael Dumanis
Bennington Early College Program: Literature and Writing
Machines Made Out of Words: How to Read a Poem
Taught by Michael Dumanis
10:00 am-12:00 pm and 1:00-3:00 pm EST | August 2-6
Q&A with Michael Dumanis
What excites you about teaching Machines Made Out of Words: How to Read a Poem?
I think it's really empowering to recognize that every time any writer sets down a word on a page, they are making a choice, and that seemingly small choice can have tremendous impact on how a reader receives the text as a whole.
Sometimes when we have an idea we wish to express or an observation we'd like to make, it's easy to forget that a poem is actually made out of words ordered into lines, and that the decisions we make about word-choice and line-break often transform our original intentions and create something surprising, original, charged with emotion, and layered with meaning that could not be achieved without focusing on language.
Also, it's fun to consider the various, often contradictory pronouncements writers have made about poetry and to look closely at a diverse range of poems while experimenting with our own creative work.
The decisions we make about word-choice and line-break often transform our original intentions and create something surprising, original, charged with emotion
What do you hope students will gain from this course?
I hope students to give themselves the permission and confidence to take creative risks with their own poems by focusing on the various possibilities of word choice and linebreak. Students will become familiar with an array of poems by contemporary poets and engage in active conversation about what a poem could be.
What are you reading right now?
I just finished a wonderful new book of poems by a recent Bennington student, Philomath by Devon Walker-Figueroa '15. In preparation for a Romantic Poets course I'm teaching for the first time this fall, I've been reading a lot of Keats and Shelley, and also rereading two great novels of the period, Goethe's The Sufferings of Young Werther and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.
What publications have you had recently?
Do you have any pets?
I have no pets, aside from the adorable groundhog who lives behind my house on the Bennington campus and keeps standing up on his hind legs, but he doesn't like to be photographed.
About the Bennington Early College Program
The Bennington Early College Program is a suite of one-credit online courses for high school, gap year, and college students. Programs are offered in Literature and Writing, Social and Environmental Justice, and Politics, Power, and Society.
Bennington Early College Program course fees are refundable for students who later apply to Bennington's undergraduate program.