When we finish writing a poem, we feel like celebrating. But the poem itself is an act of celebration, and the best thing our work can do is to uplift the eye, the heart and the language. In this online workshop, we’ll explore the possibilities of the ode, considering both what a praise song has been in the past (for the Greeks, the Romantics) and the unlikely places it can take us today. We’ll look at the work of Pindar, Keats, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer, Sharon Olds, Matthea Harvey, Ross Gay and many other poets as we seek out new and unexpected ways to celebrate. As an ode always has its object of praise, this will also be a study in deep looking, giving intensified attention to the world in front of us. Weekly work for the course will be done asynchronously on Wet Ink, and the professor will provide video introductions to material and a one-on-one Facetime conference with each student.
Jay Deshpande is the author of Love the Stranger (YesYes Books, 2015), named one of the top debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers, and the chapbook The Rest of the Body (YesYes Books, 2017). A Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and the winner of the Scotti Merrill Memorial Award and Narrative‘s Annual Poetry Contest, he has also received fellowships from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri and the Key West Literary Seminar. His poems have recently appeared in Denver Quarterly, Washington Square, LARB Quarterly Journal and Horsethief. He holds a BA in English from Harvard and an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, and he has taught workshops for Poets House, the Academy of American Poets, Rutgers and the MFA program at Columbia University.