Women’s Visionary Poetry Syllabus

Women’s Visionary Poetry Sample Syllabus

UNITS: 1    SEMESTER:   Spring
INSTRUCTOR:   Professor Mara Lynn Keller, Ph.D. with Guest Speaker Professor Mary Mackey, Ph.D.      
LEVEL OF INSTRUCTION:   BA, MA, PhD         CLASS SIZE:   MAX 25    

DESCRIPTION OF COURSE CONTENT:
Through the millennia women have crystallized our spiritual insights, longing, struggles, wisdom, and experiences of mystical communion with the Divine in prayers and poems, chants and incantations . We will consider works by Paula Gunn Allen, Maya Angelou, Audre Lorde, Janine Canan, Susan Griffin, Mary Mackey, Mary Oliver, Adrienne Rich, Carolee Sanchez, Sappho, May Sarton, and Alice Walker, among others.  We will participate in writing, speaking and performing our own visionary poetry as well–poetry which helps us envision a better future for ourselves, others, and our planet.

LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
When the student finishes this course, s/he will be able to:
1.    Identify spiritual themes in women’s visionary poetry
2.    Teach key authors in women’s visionary poetry
3.    Use creative writing skills in developing one’s own voice in writing poetry
4.    Use methodologies of spiritual feminist literary criticism

LEARNING ACTIVITIES:                                            
1.    Lecture-discussion                            30%
2.    Creative writing exercises                20%
3.    Student presentations                       30%
4.    Guest speakers                                  20%

CRITERIA FOR EVALUATION:
Assignment                            Percentage toward Final Grade     
1.    In-class presentation on 2 individual poets                    20%       
(10 minutes each)                                              
2.    2 page review of one poet, due first day of class, April 21.            20%    
3.    Final Research Paper                             60%       
(In the Research Paper you will compare and contrast three of the course poets.)                                  
PhDs 20  pages, MAs  15 pages, BAs 10 pages. Due May 9.
4. Optional for Extra Credit:  writing/reading/performing your own poetry.                           

REQUIRED TEXTS:

1.    Canan, Janine, ed.  She Rises Like the Sun. Ten Speed Press, Celestial Arts, Crossing Press, 1989.
2.    Mackey, Mary. Sugar Zone (New York: Marsh Hawk Press, 2011) or Travelers With No Ticket Home (Marsh Hawk Press 2014).
3.    Muten, Burleigh, ed. Her Words:  An Anthology of Poetry about the Great Goddess. Boston: Shambhala, 1999.
4.    Rosen, Kim. Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words. Carlsbad, CA:  Hay House, Inc., 2009.
5.    Women’s Visionary Reader: Selected Articles (online e-res: password: poetry)  
6.    Choose one of the following, to present in class:
Oliver, Mary. New and Selected Poems. Volume One. (Boston: Beacon Press, 2005).
Rich, Adrienne.  The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977. (New York: W. W. Norton & Co., Inc., 1978).
Walker, Alice.  Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful (Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1984).
A book of women’s visionary poetry, selected from the bibliography, or approved by instructor.
7.    Recommended:  Oliver, Mary. A Poetry Handbook. New York: Mariner Books, 1994.

    
COURSE SCHEDULE AND READING LIST: WOMEN’S VISIONARY POETRY

Please read these texts, prior to Saturday:
    Mara Lynn Keller, The Greater Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone (e-res)
    Mary Mackey, Sugar Zone or Travelers With No Ticket Home
    Kim Rosen, Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words. pp. xii-102.
    Burleigh Muten, Her Words: An Anthology of Poetry about the Great Goddess.
    A poet’s book of your choosing, from those listed above.
    Women’s Visionary Poetry Reader
Göttner-Abendroth, Heide.  “Nine Principles of a Matriarchal Aesthetic.”
Keller, Mara Lynn.  The Greater Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone. Excerpts.
Lisa.  “The Story River” (blog). Interview with Mary Mackey, Parts 1,2,3. http://thestoryriver.com/  
Lorde, Audrey. “Poetry is not a Luxury.” In Sister Outsider. 36-39.
Miner, Valerie.  “The Feminist Reviewer” in Rumors from the Cauldron.

Saturday, April 21

Morning:  
Introductions.  What is Women’s Visionary Poetry?
    Kim Whitehead.  The Feminist Poetry Movement. Introduction.
                                Kim Rosen, Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words. pp. xii-102.
Mara Lynn Keller, The Greater Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone (excerpts)        
(15 minute break)
Mary Mackey, Sugar Zone and Travelers With No Ticket Home
(Before class read  “The Story River” (blog). Interview with Mary Mackey, Parts 1,2,3. http://thestoryriver.com/  

Poetry writing exercises conducted by Mary Mackey

Afternoon:
Poetry readings/performances of students’ own poetry
Student presentations on a single women’s visionary poet:
    Alice Walker, Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful
    Mary Oliver, New and Selected Poems. Volume One.
    Adrienne Rich, The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977.  

    Goddess(es) as presence/symbol/archetype/metaphor of the Sacred Feminine energies of life
        Burleigh Muten, Her Words: An Anthology of Poetry about the Great Goddess.
        Goddesses Around the World: slideshow

Poetry readings/performances of poetry from the readings for today     
    
Please read these texts, prior to our Sunday meeting:
Kim Rosen, Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words, pp. 103-209.
Janine Canan, ed. She Rises Like the Sun.
Women’s Visionary Poetry Reader (on e-res: password: poetry)
        Oliver, Mary. A Poetry Handbook. Introduction. “Sound.” .
Whitehead, Kim.  “History, Myth and Empowerment in the Poetry of Jo Harjo.”
Recommended: Hirschfield, Jane. “Poetry as a Vessel of Remembrance,” in Nine Gates: Entering by Mind of Poetry,
            by Jane Hirschfield. 176-196.

Sunday, April 22;

Morning:
Kim Rosen, Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words, pp. 103-209.
    Mary Oliver. A Poetry Handbook. Introduction. “Sound.”
    Poetry writing exercises.

Janine Canan, Guest Speaker.
    Janine Canan, ed. She Rises Like the Sun

Afternoon:

Student presentations on a individual women’s visionary  poet:
    Oliver,
    Rich,
    Walker
    Others

Poetry readings/performances of poetry from the readings for today and/or your own poetry

 PAPER DUE DATES:

Due Date for 2 Page Written Review: Your 2 page written review of a poet is due either after your in-class oral presentationo or by April 24.  Please tell us something about the author and her body of poetry and how you see her work as part of women’s visionary poetry; take us into the feeling and meaning and themes of several selected poems.  Tell us a how the poem touches you and influences your life (if, indeed, it does).

Due Date for Final Paper: Your final paper is due May 9th. Compare and contrast three of the course authors.  Please tell us how you would define the emerging genre of Women’s Visionary Poetry. Tell us how you see each of the authors you selected as visionary. Present several poems of each, the themes, feelings, meaning.  Compare the selected poets.  Tell us something of who you are and how the poetry of these women visionary poets touches you and influences your life.  Be sure to use the Research paper guidelines
 

Women’s Visionary Poetry Reader
Göttner-Abendroth, Heide.  “Nine Principles of a Matriarchal Aesthetic.” In Art and Its Significance: An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory,     ed. Stephen David Ross. New York: State University of New York, 1987.
Keller, Mara Lynn.  The Greater Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone. Excerpts.
Lisa.  “The Story River” (blog). Interview with Mary Mackey, Parts 1,2,3. http://thestoryriver.com/  10/18/2011.
Lorde, Audrey. “Poetry is not a Luxury.” In Sister Outsider. 36-39.
Miner, Valerie.  “The Feminist Reviewer” in Rumors from the Cauldron.
Oliver, Mary. A Poetry Handbook. Introduction. “Sound.” Mariner Books: New York, 1994.
Whitehead, Kim.  The Feminist Poetry Movement. Introduction. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 1996.
Whitehead, Kim.  “History, Myth and Empowerment in the Poetry of Jo Harjo.” In The Feminist Poetry Movement, Kim Whitehead.
Recommended: Hirschfield, Jane. “Poetry as a Vessel of Remembrance,” in Nine Gates: Entering by Mind of Poetry,
    by Jane Hirschfield. 176-196.

WOMEN’S VISIONARY POETRY RESEARCH BIBLIOGRAPHY:

POETRY
Allen, Paula Gunn. Shadow Country. Los Angeles: California University Press, Native American Series, American Indian Studies Center, 1982.
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
—.Phenomenal Woman: 4 Poems Celebrating Women. 1995.
—.  The Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou New York: Random House, 1994.
Brant, Beth, ed.  A Gathering of Spirit: Writing and Art by North American Indian Women. Sinister Wisdom Books, 1984.  (Earlier published as a double issue of the journal, Sinister Wisdom, issue no. 22-23, July 1983.
Cahill, Susan, ed.  Wise Women: Over 2000 Years of Spiritual Writing by Women. New York, London: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996.
Cameron, Anne. Earth Witch.  Madiera Park, British Columbia: Harbour Publishing, 1982.
Canan, Janine, ed. She Rises Like the Sun: Invocations of the Goddess by Contemporary American Women Poets. Freedom, CA: Crossing Press, 1989.
—. Changing Woman. United States of America: Scars Publication and Design, 2000.
—. In the Palace of Creation:  Selected Works, 1969-1999. America: Scars Publication, 2003.
Grahn, Judy. The Queen of Swords. Boston, Beacon Press, 1987.
—. She Who: A Graphic Book of Poems.  Oakland, CA: Diana Press, Inc., 1972, 1977.
Griffin, Susan.  Bending Home: Selected and New Poems, 1967-1998. Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 1998.
—. Like the Iris of an Eye. New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1976.
Hall, Linda.  An Anthology of Poetry by Women: Trading the Tradition. London: Cassell, 1994.
H. D. Collected Poems, 1912-1944. Ed. Louis L. Martz. New York: New Directions Books, 1983.
Hirschfield, Jane.  Given Sugar, Given Salt: Poems.  New York: HarperCollins Perennial, 2002.
Hirshfield, Jane, ed.  Women in Praise of the Sacred: 48 Centuries of Spiritual Poetry by Women. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1994.
Keller, Mara Lynn. “Goddess-God Creation Myth” poem in She is Everywhere, Volume II. anthology gathered by Annette Williams and Karen Villanueva and Lucia Chiavola Birnbaum. iUniverse, (2010 ): …
Lorde, Audre. The Black Unicorn: Poems. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1978.
—.  The Collected Poems of Audre Lorde. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1997.
—. Undersong: Chosen Poems Old and New.
Mackey, Mary. Breaking The Fever (New York: Marsh Hawk Press, 2008)
—. Sugar Zone (New York: Marsh Hawk Press, 2011).
—. Travelers With No Ticket Home (Marsh Hawk Press 2014)
    Mary Mackey’s Face Book Author Page https://www.facebook.com/marymackeywriter?sk=info
    Mary Mackey’s Homepage http://www.marymackey.com
    Mary Mackey’s Marsh Hawk Press webpage http://www.marshhawkpress.org/Mackey2.html
Morgan, Robin.  Lady of the Beasts: Poems by Robin Morgan. New York: Random House, 1976.
—. Monster: Poems by Robin Morgan. New York: Vintage Books, 1972.
Muten, Burleigh, ed.  Her Words: An Anthology of Poetry about the Great Goddess. (Boston & London: Shambala, 1999).    
Oliver, Mary.  
—. American Primitive. Back Bay Books: New York, 1978.
—. Dream Work. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1986.
—. House of Light. Boston: Beacon Press, 1990.
—.  New and Selected Poems.  Volume One. Boston: Beacon Press, 1992.
—. New and Selected Poems. Volume Two. Boston: Beacon Press, 2005.
—. Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays. Boston: Beacon Press, 2003.
—. Thirst. Boston: Beacon Press, 2007.
—. What Do We Know? Boston: Da Capo Press, 2003.
—. Why I Wake Early. Beacon Press: Boston, 2004.
—. “The Sunflowers.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVfeEySWIss&feature=related
—. “Wild Geese.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnKUKmcFVuo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1IiylWR2orE&feature=related
—. “Tom Dance’s Gift of a White Bark Pinecone,” “Wild Geese,” “Peonies”                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XnaP7ig69go&feature=related
—. “Praying.”  “In Thirst.” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV9pbLoX9FQ&feature=related
Rich, Adrienne. The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-1977. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1978.
—.  “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying.” in On Lies, Secrets, and Silence. New York: W.W. Norton, 1995.
Sanchez, Carol Lee.  Excerpts from a Mountain Climber’s Handbook, selected poems 1971-1984. San Francisco: Taurean Horn
    Press, 1985.
—. From Spirit to Matter: new and selected poems, 1969-1996. San Francisco: Taurean Horn Press, 1997.
—. She) Poems.  Goshen, Connecticut: Chicory Blue Press, 1995.
Sappho.  Sappho: Lyrics in the Original Greek with Translations by Willis Barnstone.  New York: Anchor Books, Doubleday & Company, 1965.
Sappho, Sappho. tr. Mary Barnard.  Berkeley: University of California Press, 1958.
Sarton, May.  Select poems of May Sarton. 1991.
—.  Collected Poems 1930-1993. 1992.
Walker, Alice.  Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth: New Poems. New York: Random House, 2003.
—. Walker, Alice.  Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful. Orlando, Florida: Harcourt Brace & Co., 1984.

LITERARY CRITICISM
Albert, Susan Wittig. Writing from Life: Telling Your Soul’s Story. Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin: New York. 2004.
Allen, Paula Gunn.  Grandmothers of the Light: A Medicine Woman’s Source Book.
—. The Sacred Hoop.
—, ed. Spider Woman’s Granddaughters: Traditional Tales and Contemporary Writing by Native American Women. New York: Fawcett     Columbine/Ballantine Books, 1989.
Angelou, Maya.  The Heart of a Woman. New York: Random House, 1981.
Cameron, Deborah. “The Feminist Critique of Language,” A Reader
Castillo, Ana. Masacre of the Dreamers Essays on Xicanisma.. New York: Plume/Penguin Books, 1994..
Carol P. Christ, Carol P. Diving Deep and Surfacing, Preface.  Conclusion.  Boston: Beacon Press, 1980.
Christian, Barbara..  New Black Feminist Criticism: 1985-2000. Gloria Bowles, M. Giulia Fabi, and Arlene R. Keizer, eds.  2007.
Goldberg, Natalie. Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within. Shambala: Boston and London, 1986.
Göttner-Abendroth, Heide.  “Nine Principles of a Matriarchal Aesthetic.” In Art and Its Significance: An Anthology of Aesthetic Theory,     ed. Stephen David Ross. New York: State University of New York, 1987.
Henneberg, Silvia.  The Creative Crone:  Aging and the Poetry of May Sarton and Adrienne Rich.  Columbia, Missouri: University of     Missouri Press, 2010.
Hirshfield, Jane.  Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. New York: HarperPerennial, 1997.
Kinzie, Mary. A Poet’s Guide to Poetry. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999.
Lakoff, Robin. “Language and a Woman’s Place”
Lorde, Audre. “An Interview: Audre Lorde and Adrienne Rich.” In Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde.      Freedom, CA: The Crossing Press, [1984] 1996.
Lorde, Audre.  “Poetry is not a Luxury.”  In Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde.  Freedom, CA: The     Crossing Press, [1984] 1996.
Mackey, Mary.  “The Story River: Three part interview with Mary Mackey.” http://thestoryriver.com/
—.    Inkwell: Mary Mackey and Jane Hirshfield in Conversation.    http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/421/Poetry-Festival-with-Jane-Hirshf-page01.html
Markey, Janice. A New Tradition? The Poetry of Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Adrienne Rich: A Study of Feminism and Poetry, 1988.
Miner, Valerie.  “The Feminist Reviewer” in Rumors from the Cauldron, by Valerie Miner. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Michigan University Press, 1992.
Montefiore, Jan. Feminism and Poetry: Language, Experience, Identity in Women’s Writing, 1994.
Oliver, Mary. Long Life: Essays and Other Writings. Boston: Da Capo Press, 2005.
—. A Poetry Handbook. Mariner Books: New York, 1994.
—.  Rules for the Dance. A Handbook for Writing and Reading Metrical Verse. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998.
—. Winter Hours: Prose, Prose Poems, and Poems. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.
—. with  Photographs by Molly Malone. Our World. Boston: Beacon Press, 2007.
Plunkett, Irene. “A Sturdy Rose: Spiritual Feminism – a literary legacy of women of the United States, 16th through 20th century.”     California Institute of Integral Studies, Philosophy and Religion, Women’s Spirituality Dissertation, 2008. Methods chapter      
    http://koha.ciis.edu/cgi-bin/koha/opac-detail.pl?biblionumber=8945                                 http://search.proquest.com/docview/304418469
Pollock, Griselda and Victoria Turvey Sauren, eds., The Sacred and the Feminine: Imagination and Sexual Difference. New     York, NY: 2007, I.     B. Tauris & Co Ltd, 2007.
Rich, Adrienne, “Women and Honor: Some Notes on Lying” in Lies, Secrets, and Silence: …
Rosen, Kim. Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words. Carlsbad, CA:  Hay House, Inc., 2009.
Sakelliou-Schultz, Liana. Feminist Criticism of American Women Poets: An Annotated Bibliography, 1975-1993. New York:  Garland Publishing, 1994.
Templeton, Alice. The Dream and the Dialogue: Adrienne Rich’s Feminist Poetics. University of Tennessee Press, 1995.
Walker, Alice. Anything We Love Can Be Saved. New York: Ballantine Books, 1997.
Whitehead, Kim.  The Feminist Poetry Movement. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996.
Whitehead, Kim.  “History, Myth and Empowerment in the Poetry of Jo Harjo.” In The Feminist Poetry Movement, Kim Whitehead.     Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996.

Instructor Biography: MARA LYNN KELLER, PHD (Philosophy, Yale University) is a Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Women’s Spirituality at the California Institute of Integral Studies. She is a philosopher and thealogian who is a specialist on the Eleusinian Mysteries of Demeter and Persephone of Ancient Greece. As part of her commitment to the integration of body, mind, heart, and spirit, she is also a Rosen Method Bodywork practitioner and teacher. (www.rosenmethod.com/ ). As Director of the Women’s Spirituality MA and PhD program from 1998-2008, she co-created a curriculum featuring Women’s Mysteries, Sacred Arts, and Healing; Women and World Religions; and Ecofeminist and Feminist Philosophy and Activism; and  she produced dozens of special events on women’s sacred arts and scholarship, most recently, a joint art exhibition with CERES Gallery in New York on Ineffable/Woman. She also serves on the Editorial Council of the OCHRE Journal of Women’s Spirituality (www.ciis.edu/ochrejournal).  

Guest Speaker Biography: MARY MACKEY (B.A. Harvard; Ph.D. Comparative Literature, University of Michigan) is Professor Emeritus of English at California State University, Sacramento, where she taught film, creative writing, and Women’s Studies courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level; and was nominated four times for the University’s Outstanding Teaching Award. Mary is the author of  twelve screenplays, seven collections of visionary poetry including Breaking The Fever (2008), Travelers With No Ticket Home (2014) and Sugar Zone (2011), winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award and finalist for the Northern California Book Reviewers Award. She has also written thirteen novels, including The Year The Horses Came, The Horses At the Gate, and The Fires of Spring, a trilogy which recreates the earth-centered, matristic cultures of Old Europe based on the research of archaeologist Marija Gimbutas. Mackey’s works have been translated into twelve foreign languages and have sold over a million and a half copies. Her poetry has been featured on Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac; and The Widow’s War, her most recent novel, appeared on the San Francisco Chronicle Bestseller List. She is Past President of PEN American Center, West; former member of the Governing Board of PEN Oakland; one of the founders of the Feminist Writers Guild, and a fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She is a member of the International Editorial Board of OCHRE: Journal of Women’s Spirituality, and is particularly interested in helping her students find deeply personal, authentic voices in which to express their spirituality, imagination, hopes, beliefs, thoughts, and dreams.  In Spring 2009, the San Francisco Branch of the National League of American Pen Women established the Mary Mackey Short Story Prize to encourage writers who may not have previously been published. She is presently writing a novel entitled The Village of Bones: Sabalah’s Tale, which is a prequel to The Year The Horses Came. You can contact her, sample her work, and read her People Who Make Books Happen interview series on her website at marymackey.com, sign up to receive her quarterly newsletter, and Like her Author Page on Facebook where she is presently giving updates about her forthcoming novel The Village of Bones.

[To view sample syllabi for Women’s Visionary Film, Women’s Visionary Fiction, and Advanced Composition click here.]