Chicago School of Poetics

Larry Sawyer, Chicago School of Poetics Co-Director, teaches a class about incorporating pop culture into poetry. In one of his own projects, Sawyer melds the poetry of Frederico Garcia Lorca with the plot of the TV show “Breaking Bad.”

Larry Sawyer, Chicago School of Poetics Co-Director, teaches a class about incorporating pop culture into poetry. In one of his own projects, Sawyer melds the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca with the plot of the TV show “Breaking Bad.”

The Chicago School of Poetics was founded in October 2011 as a way for writers to learn about and practice experimental poetics. Francesco Levato, Founder and Director of the CSoP, said this was a reaction to people asking him about his own work and wanting to know how they could pursue it themselves. Levato developed CSoP as an online program so it would be easily accessible to students–although it has also occasionally offered onsite classes in Chicago–allowing writers from across the country, and around the world, to take courses.

Class topics include things like erasure poetry, hybrid genres, collage work or documentary poetics. In his own work, Levato has experimented with cinepoetry – combining movies and poems – and more recently with media poetics – combining poetry with DJ software and adapting the music during performances as a way to interact with audiences. In many of these forms of experimental poetry, technology has played a prominent role, Levato explained, and will likely continue to do so as artists experiment with the tools that are available.

“There are some poets who are going to use whatever technology is available to explore poetry and see where it goes,” Levato said. “I wouldn’t necessarily say that the technology is driving it – it’d just say the technology is making available to us more interesting opportunities to experiment.”

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