From Difference of Opinion by Wendy Cope
HE TELLS HER
He tells her that the earth is flat-
He knows the facts, and that is that.
In altercations fierce and long
She tries her best to prove him wrong.
But he has learned to argue well.
He calls her arguments unsound
And often asks her not to yell.
She cannot win. He stands his ground.
The planet goes on being round.
Shortly after Donald Trump was elected on November 8th, "Differences of Opinion," Wendy Cope's "sharp evisceration of mansplaining" went viral. And Cope's poem wasn't the only one: after the election, lots of people, it seemed, turned to poetry for... something. But what? And why poetry? In this series, we have discussed the value of fiction, critical theory, and art to our lives and political activism. Now, to close this series, we will look at poetry--a medium that arguably embraces, and challenges, language more than any other--in order to ask a complicated question: In this environment of incredible fear and uncertainty, with the Inauguration looming and the news seemingly worsening every day, what does poetry offer us?
Texts (optional, but encouraged):
"Mind No Mind" Jia Tolentino (Poetry Magazine)
"Revenge" Elisa Chavez (Seattle Review of Books)
"There Are Birds Here" Jamaal May
"Still, Poetry Will Rise" Megan Garber (The Atlantic)
"You didn't know it but Trump's America might be explained best by a poet" (Washington Post)
"18 Compassionate Poets To Help You Weather Uncertain Times" (Huffington Post)
"Obama's Secret to Surviving the White House Years: Books" Michiko Kakutani (NYTimes)
"The Humanities at the End of the World" Alexander I. Jacobs (The Chronicle of Higher Education)
Note: This class will be repeated on Wednesday, January 18 at 10am.