Copy Great Poetry With P. Scott Cunningham and the University of Wynwood February 2

Categories: Culture
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Even there's not much profit in the poetry game, the art of writing verse can still be dangerous and seductive. So don't give up hope -- you, too, can be like the classic poets. You can exude confidence and daring. You can totally copy them. 

The first step is to sign up immediately for University of Wynwood director P. Scott Cunningham's eight-week poetry workshop, Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Sincerity, sponsored by the Florida Center for the Literary Arts. Beginning next Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., classes will convene weekly at the Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus (300 NE Second Ave., Miami). The course fee is $170, or $120 for current MDC faculty and credit students.

Asked what prospective students could expect, Cunningham says, "Poetry for me is a very, very serious discipline, like rodeo clowning. When it's done well, the audience should be smiling even while simultaneously fearing for the life of the poet." He continues, "We'll be looking to achieve that same combination between play and danger in our work. Bulls not included." More still, he says, "On a practical level, we'll be reading great poems and trying to imitate aspects of their greatness." 

Now, if you'd like an actual example of classwork, check out the jump for my rewrite of William Carlos Williams's "This Is Just to Say" and professor P. Scott Cunningham's analysis.

The original:

This Is Just to Say  
by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold


The copy:

This Is Just My Way  
by S. Pajot

I have drunk
the beers
leftover in
the fridge

and I know
you were probably
saving them
for breakfast

But I think
You have a problem
So thank me
Don't hate me


And the professor responds

In this imitation of William Carlos Williams's classic poem, "This Is Just to Say," the speaker obviously has a drinking problem, which he is projecting onto the "you" of the poem. How could the speaker possibly know if those beers were being saved for breakfast and not brunch? Clearly, the speaker wanted them for himself. Or rather, his drug-addled brain craved them to the extent that he lost all sense of decorum. Mr. Pajot's writing exhibits a satisfying depth in a small number of words. A+

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