Louise Cowan insisted that a culture could not be healthy, could not decipher its own feelings, if it did not embrace poetry, the province wherein the language of feeling is refined and tuned. She considered the loss of poetry everywhere in our prosaic world of today a devastating impoverishment of spirit.
While the spirit of lyric utterance continues, seemingly limitlessly adaptable to its surroundings, its cry testifies not only to the profundity of human longing but the devastating condition and urgent needs of our culture.
This fall we examine the worldwide variety of lyric, guided by Louise Cowan’s understanding of lyric. Beginning with some of the “touchstones” of English and African-American lyric, we will then venture into the lyric tradition of Irish, French, and Latin American literature. Our readings will be a selected set of poems, with essays and excerpts from Louise Cowan and several other theorists of poetry.


Submissions from 2021

Meeting 5: French Symbolist Lyric, Robert Scott Dupree

Meeting 4: Irish Lyric, Sarah E. Berry


Meeting 4: Selected Poems, Sarah E. Berry

Meeting 3: Latin American Concrete Poetry, Janet Hendrickson


Meeting 3: Selected Poems, Janet Hendrickson

Meeting 2: Latin American Lyric, Jose Espericueta


Meeting 2: Selected Poems, Jose Espericueta

Meeting 1: Introduction and English Lyric, Bainard Cowan


Meeting 1: Selected Poems, Bainard Cowan


Seminar Announcement, Bainard Cowan

Submissions from 1992


The Lyric Imagination (Excerpt), Louise Cowan