A withered rose. A bucket list. A cemetery. What is death to the poet? What do poems about death do for the living? In this six-week online workshop, participants will examine and create memento mori—works of art that remind us that we will die. We’ll explore various historical and contemporary forms including the elegy, jisei, epitaph and lament. Readings will include texts by Melvin Dixon, Gwendolyn Brooks, Pat Parker, Edward Hirsch, W.H. Auden, Emily Dickinson and Agha Shahid Ali. Visual works by Edvard Munch, Frida Kahlo, Faith Ringgold and Felix Gonzalez-Torres will also be discussed. Work for the course will be done asynchronously on Wet Ink—there will be no weekly Zoom session. At the start of the course, the professor will provide a video overview of memento mori, and each week they’ll provide video and written instructions to a new assignment. Students will draft six total poems of their own and exchange feedback on their poems electronically each week. At the end of the course, the professor will conference one-on-one with each student via video conference.
Candace Williams is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. Their debut collection, I Am the Most Dangerous Thing, was a finalist for the National Poetry Series and is forthcoming from Alice James Books. Candace earned their BA in philosophy, politics and economics (PPE) from Claremont McKenna College and an MA in education from Stanford University. They grew up in the Pacific Northwest and found poetry in Brooklyn, New York. Now, Candace lives and makes art in New England.