Brown | You Can Get There from Here: Poems of History, Poems of Witness

Molly McCully Brown

CLASS FULL

The poet Carolyn Forché describes Poetry of Witness as poetry that takes place between the realms of the political and the personal, in a space that lets us approach the “public” events of history, and the world around, us from a uniquely human place. But what exactly does this mean? And how does one go about writing such a poem? We’ll take a look at several poems that approach the idea of Poetry of Witness from different angles and discuss how they navigate questions of how to write about history from the present, how to approach suffering and trauma, how to identify which stories our ours to tell, and how to tell them most effectively. Then, using these poems and our discussion as a springboard, we’ll begin drafting our own Poems of Witness.