Advanced Poetry Seminar

Course Description

“The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open,
there are no keys in the doors,
and invisible guests come in and out at will.”
– Czeslaw Milosz, “Ars Poetica”

In this course, we’ll greet the many “invisible guests” who populate the houses of our poems and ourselves. We’ll have conversations with them. We’ll pit them against one another in fierce debates. We’ll play wild Charades with them. We’ll wonder if they all can get along at our party. Readings for the course will focus on the modern and contemporary, but may include pop-in visits by the likes of Sappho, Rumi, Basho, Dickinson, and others. Nearer poets may include Inger Christensen, Jorie Graham, Tomas Tranströmer, Simon Armitage, Wislawa Szymborska, James Dickey, and Lucille Clifton. Weekly writing prompts will exercise students’ engagement with the poets and poetries at hand, and written feedback will mark their progress.


Fifteen poets hailing from Bahrain, Colombia, France, India, Italy, Kuwait, Mauritius, Mexico, Uganda, and Vietnam will participate in the seminar, selected from among a pool of eighty-seven applicants representing twenty-six countries.


Micah BATEMAN is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a recipient of the Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poetry Award. His work has been shortlisted for Salt Publishing’s Crashaw Prize and appears in the Boston Review, Cutbank, Denver Quarterly, New York Quarterly, and Verse, among others. He has taught poetry and literature courses at the University of Iowa as a workshop student and as a Postgraduate Provost’s Fellow in Poetry. He is currently the editor of, an online poetry journal.

Happening Now

  • A fall harvest of book reviews coming in: of The Others by Sarah BLAU (translated from the Hebrew by Daniella Zamir); of LO Yi-Chin’s Farewell, translated from the Chinese by Jeremy TIANG; of Véronique TADJO’s In the Company of Men

  • A fascinating interview with IWP’s Senior Advisor, professor Peter Nazareth, retired from UI’s English Department in spring 2021, after nearly five decades of teaching.

  • Word reaches us that poet HU Xudong  胡续冬, who also taught comparative and world literatures at Peking University (Beida), specializing in Latin American literatures, passed away unexpectedly. RIP, Hu Xudong…

  • We note with sadness the passing of Hiroshi SAKAGAMI 坂上 弘, whose long novelistic career garnered him major literary and cultural honors. A former president of the Japan Writers’ Association, he was until his retirement also the director of Keio University Press.

  • The poetic documentary Songs Still Sung: Voices from the Tsunami Shores, written and co-produced by Takako ARAI and creatively subtitled into English by a class of UI students of Japanese, will be screened at the prestigious Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, on-line 10/7-14/2021.

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