Art of Poetry is a class that meets twice a week to discuss poetry, how it affects a reader, and what methods are used to achieve this. It is discussion oriented, as most classes at Simon’s Rock are, and delves into the devices and vehicles poetry can utilize or provide.
I came into this class with an extensive poetry background, so I thought it would just be a fun way to read new poems. However, each class taught me something I had never encountered before. Of the 131 poems we read I knew very few beforehand, and every assignment was original and stimulating. Because of this class my perception of poetry has been entirely changed, making it my favorite of the semester.
Art of Poetry is a writing intensive course, so it’s a lot of work. There are two response journals due per week, one midterm essay, one final essay, and an original poem plus revision workshopped throughout the course. That’s not even counting the many many poems you’ll read. It’s also graded pretty harshly. As those who have had a class with Filkins will know, he is “an easy B, hard A, and even harder C.” However, if you put the work in and show an interest in his teachings as well as poetry itself, you are likely to get a high grade, and it will be all the more rewarding when you do.
Don’t take this class just to fulfill your ‘W’ credit. You really need to love literature to find “Art of Poetry” rewarding. Other than that, grading is the only thing you need to watch out for. If you’re having trouble, meet with Filkins and ask him how to succeed in the class. This will show him you care, plus he’ll probably give you some clarifying advice. Also, look at your response journal comments and LEARN FROM THEM! Seriously. They will be your key to an A.
Elise is the Vice President and Director of Creative Publications of The Cad.