This Spring, Daniel DeWisepelare has been teaching Critical Methods (ENGL 2800W), and his students for this course will be presenting their work on critical theory and literature at “A Critical Methods Symposium and Party” today at 2pm in Rome Hall 771. The Symposium is in its second year and testifies to the thriving culture in the English Department. It also speaks to Professor DeWispelare’s abiding passion for language, discourse communities, and the life of literature. Scott Dillon, an ENGL 2470, recently asked the scholar of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries about the poems that matter to him. Among the poets he notes are Jack Gilbert, John Keats, and Mary Robinson, whose poem “January 1795” he shares at the end of the following interview.
What are some your experiences with poetry?
I will say that I have probably less experience with poetry than a lot of people. I came to poetry later in life than many. The thing that always got me into literature was prose, so let’s say, the desire vested in the unfolding arc of a novel. I have a kind of crude sense of what poetry does, but I think it communicates in very different ways.
Who are some your favorite poets?
I like this guy, Jack Gilbert and there are other poets I like that come from other traditions. I like this guy…..who is a Russian language poet. I do like John Keats and the Romantic poets, although sometimes I think, the Romantic poets are little over the edge for me. I look at the world, really different than they look at the world. But, that’s one of the reasons I find their poetry so interesting. I never got into the high Modernists. I had a really brief dalliance with liking T. S. Eliot or at least thinking that that kind of stuff T.S. Eliot was doing was the kind of intellectual work I thought literature could do. But I think I kind of moved on from that.
Eliot writes in a narrative way, so I would think that would be more approachable?
Absolutely. I would say Eliot writes in a more montage way, that would be my brief response to that as oppose to a narrative. Compare it to the narrative function of prose…
He’s getting the same affect with a different technique?
No way, but no means. I’m taking about dirty spy novel; a chaotic unfolding of weird events that are stitched together. I’m sure poetry can do analogous things, but not the same things. [slight pause] I’m trying to think…so some of my favorites of the romantic poems are Keats’ odes. I’ve never been into Blake, sorry Jennifer. I think Jennifer is into Blake, or maybe Jennifer and I agree on a dislike of Blake, maybe I’m misremembering this. But anyway, if you know William Blake’s weird poetic world, there’s this kind of genre of scholars in my field, that are absolutely obsessed with William Blake, and I’ve always had a hard time digesting it. [slight pause] Similarly, Byron, who is kind of central to my period…if anything, I suppose the person I feel closest to, even though he is kind of a strange individual is William Wordsworth, in this period.
Have you ever written any poetry of your own?
Infrequently. I’m quite interested in the poetic function vis-à-vis, Roman Jakobson, but I haven’t necessarily composed poetry. Although, I have from time to time, written poetry to people. But generally, in a more ironic voice, not as something serious…
A student enjoying the new space. Upon their return from winter break, English department students and faculty were greeted with a new lounge designed by Interior Design MA students Elise Katzif Walker and Laura Van Biber. Having never been to the previous lounge, and without any knowledge that there ever was one, I wasn’t sure…
For Latinx Heritage Month, we are celebrating and showcasing the research of Prof. Antonio López, who works on Latinx literature and culture from the colonial era to the contemporary period. He is the author of “Unbecoming Blackness: The Diaspora Cultures of Afro-Cuban America” (New York: New York University Press, 2012). This book won Honorable Mention, Modern Language Association Book Prize…
Gabe Muller (GW English Minor, ’13) with Diane von Furstenberg Gabe Muller, English Minor, Diane von Furstenberg Intimate Okay, maybe not intimate; but Gabe’s job at Atlantic Media certainly opens doors. He talks about it with Margaret Soltan. So, how did you go from being a humble English minor at GW to a guy who…
The debates about Massive Open Online Courses continues, and Professor Margaret Soltan continues to be sought after for her thoughts on the subject. She was recently featured talking about her Poetry MOOC in Poets and Writers Magazine: Soltan, who teaches a course through Udemy titled Poetry: What It Is, and How to Understand It, says…
GW Students in Kogan Plaza November 15, 2016 GW English and Creative Writing affirm that we are absolutely committed to fostering programs that recognize the value of studying all aspects of human experiences. Learning from and alongside student movements across the country that – as signs in Kogan Plaza have recently announced – say no…
Please join us this Wednesday, April 6th, at the GW Textile Museum to hear Professor David McAleavey read from his new book of poems, Rock Taught. Rock Taught is Professor McAleavey’s sixth book of poems, preceded by Sterling 403; The Forty Days; Shrine, Shelter, Cave; Holding Obsidian; David McAleavey’s Greatest Hits 1971-2000, and Huge Haiku….