Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Bring on the Rules of Poetry

Tonight I had my first summer class at Chatham University. This is an experimental hybrid type of class. It is partly on campus/residency, partly on line. Three days on campus-- Wed 6-9pm, Thurs 6-9pm, Fri 9am-5pm, then four weeks of online connectivity, then three more days on campus. This class is called Bring on the Poetry and incorporates rhetoric and performance into the curriculum. I HAD to write down what the teacher, Jim Coppoc, said were his two rules of poetry (there are only two). I don't know if he came up with this off the cuff or if he has thought about it for years, but here they are:

Jim Coppoc's Rules of Poetry**
  1. Have something to say
  2. Don't f--k it up.

** for the purposes of this class, a poem is something that has an author (ethos) who attempts a purpose (wants the audience to think, feel, or act differently after the poem), with an audience, under a context (where it's delivered, how it's delivered, cultural context, etc.)