Joy Katz teaches poetry, creative nonfiction, and multigenre workshops, as well as readings classes, to graduate and undergraduate students. She also teaches in the community. Recent courses include:
Hot/Not: Sentiment in Innovative Poems
Sol LeWitt said: conceptual art is made to engage the mind, not the emotions. Yet many innovative and conceptual poems do engage emotion. What role does feeling have in innovative poems? How have language play, irony, and conceptual strategies acted against sentiment in poetry in useful and not-useful ways? In this seminar, we look at feeling in innovative and conceptual poems, exploring how poets approach potentially “hot” material, such as birth, love, sex, and social justice. We discover the forces at play that keep poems from being “cold,” allowing them to engage sentiment — and even sentimentality. Recent texts have included Sarah Vap, Maggie Nelson, Anselm Berrigan, Montana Ray, Farid Matuk, Juliana Spahr, Harryette Mullen, Emily Dickinson, Myung Mi Kim, Joanne Kyger, and others.
Inventing Landscape: A Workshop
In this workshop we look at how poets build landscapes, given that landscapes in poems are as complex as forests, cities, edgelands, and subdivisions in real life. We reverse engineer many kinds of poetic landscapes, from coast roads to abandoned buildings to floating islands of plastic waste, to see how writers make them. What constitutes inhabitation on the part of a writer, on the part of a reader? This question is central as we move between pastoral traditions and ecopoetics. Previous readings have included Brenda Hillman, Ed Roberson, Lisa Robertson, Theodore Roethke, Hoa Nguyen, Cathy Hong, Thoreau, Wordsworth, Erik Anderson, Charles Wright, Jack Collom, and others.
21st/20th Century Poetry: A Retrospective Reading
This readings class focuses on lineage, tracing current poetic practices back to their roots. We begin with close readings of new books by poets working in a variety of traditions including confessionalism, narrative, and documentary poetics. Then we read an earlier poet, looking for what the writer has taken from traditions of the 1980s, mid-20th century, and earlier. We consider the cultural context of certain poems: they are historical artifacts. But we read primarily to understand how poetic language works and evolves and to understand our own, individual poetic lineage. Recent texts: Ross Gay, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude; Bhanu Kapil, The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers; C.D. Wright, One Big Self; Cornelius Eady, Brutal Imagination; Nick Flynn, My Feelings