Full Title: “Professor creates organization encouraging students of all majors to explore poetry (via Daily Bruin)”
Every member of the UCLA community should read or hear a poem sometime between this April and June, said English adjunct assistant professor Reed Wilson.
UCLApoem – Wilson’s brainchild – is a new student-run organization that will organize several poetry readings and events during spring quarter, with the goal of directing an annual UCLAPoetry Festival every spring quarter. The class is also offered for credit as English M192.2: “Public Poetry Project.” Wilson, Creative Writing Coordinator for the English department, said the organization originally started as a practicum course in winter quarter 2018. But there are nonliterature students who wish to develop their affinity for poetry and don’t know how to do so, Wilson said – through UCLApoem, he hopes to help these students and demystify the subject.
“The late poet W. S. Merwin once said that when times get tough, people turn to poetry,” Wilson said. “It’s always there as a source of inspiration, wisdom and advice.”
Wilson blames the way poetry traditionally has been taught – with books in a classroom. He said he hopes to invigorate some of the great tradition of poetry in live readings that invite a more sensuous experience.Students also tend to be more aware of works by dead poets, as opposed to contemporary poets, Wilson said. He wants to pay special attention to living poets, like Jane Hirshfield or Brian Turner, in an effort to better engage students.
“We certainly want to foreground our efforts in the living art of poetry,” Wilson said. “By understanding the living art, that draws people back to the inspirations … from the past.”