1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Poetry Writing Program


  • ENPW 4820 Poetry Program Poetics: The Poetics of Ecstasy

    1300-1530 R - BRYAN 330

    Restricted to Instructor Permission

    Instructor: Lisa Russ Spaar

    The Greek word ekstasis signifies displacement, trance – literally, “standing elsewhere.” In this seminar class, designed for students in the Department's undergraduate Area Program in Poetry Writing (APPW), serious makers and readers of poems will explore the poetics and poetry of  fervor – erotic, visionary, psychosomatic, negative, religious, mystical.  When the precincts of poetry and rapture intersect, what transpires? What is possible? What is at stake and why does it matter? We will read widely and deeply across cultures and time, including work by Dickinson, Whitman, Carson, Rimbaud, Ginsberg, Hopkins, Sappho, Keats, Rilke, Mirabai, Rumi, Ginsberg, and many other ancient, modern, and contemporary writers who have explored the experience of being beside one’s self in the transport of ecstasy.  Each student will engage in a semester-long project, an “essay/assay” on the poetics of ecstasy (approximately 15 - 20 pages), to be conceived of, written, and at least partly revised throughout the semester, and due at the semester’s close.  This final project will be comprised ofa 5- 7 page statement of each student’s particular understanding of the poetics of ecstasy, followed by an anthology of 4 original and 6 other ecstatic poems.  The aim will be to create and articulate an intertextual, cross-genre incarnation of each student’s evolving understanding of ecstatic poetry.  Non-APPW students may seek admission to the course in a space-available basis. INTERESTED STUDENTS MUST ALSO REQUEST PERMISSION TO ENROLL THROUGH SIS.


  • ENPW 4910 Poetry Capstone

    1100-1330 W - BRYAN 233

    Restricted to Instructor Permission

    Instructor: Gregory Orr

    This seminar for fourth-year students in the Area Program for Poetry Writing (APPW) is the first in a two-semester project in which students begin to think intentionally about how individual poems are altered when put into constellations, then series. By the end of the fall term, students will have organized the germ (20 pages) of what in the spring semester (in a series of weekly manuscript review meetings, mentoring, and independent work) will be developed into a collection of poems. In the fall, we will read together a number of poetic sequences, chapbooks, and first book manuscripts. We will be visited by a number of poets currently putting manuscripts together. Each student will also engage in an individually tailored program of study, exploring influences related to his or her creative work, influences which may include other writers, but which may also extend into other disciplines -- architecture, string theory, German Expressionist film, or Japanese cuisine, for example. Students will offer a class presentations on these influences, in relation to their own manuscripts, near the end of the fall term