Thinkers have warned against the imagination as the Pandora's box of the mind or a kind of trick oracle. Kant called it the "blind, yet indispensable function of the human soul" that deals breakthroughs and breakdowns alike. Blind yet image-making, imagination haunts artistic discourses and shares with art the liminal zone between ideal and real, between intellect and feels.
Taking as our point of departure Diane di Prima's caution that "the only war that matters is the war against the imagination," we'll examine imagination's cultural and political implications, focusing on the poetic: from the Romantics, for whom it was a sacred tool of inquiry, to contemporary experimental poets who rigorously imagine their textual sculptures into hard or digital materiality.
We'll discuss the work of the imagination in our own creative work, regardless of genre. We will create new or used poems, textual and multimedia pieces in response to class discussions, and welcome a number of guest speakers — poets, artists, filmmakers, translators, and activists.
Each class will work as its own unit of inquiry, and anyone is encouraged to attend any meeting; for maximum effect, follow the course to completion. The semester will culminate in a collective performance whose nature you will help us imagine.
First class: Thursday September 18th, 7pm