One day course for teachers of English. Formation continue UNIL-EPFL.
This year’s Formation Continue borrows its title from a poem by Wallace Stevens, “How to Live. What to Do.” Toward the middle of his life, Stevens proposed two affirmative questions that contain just about all the other questions we may ask ourselves, possibly even more so in times of crisis. This course proposes to envisage the role of poetry in a disenchanted world and explore the pedagogical possibilities that this reputedly difficult literary genre can offer in our classrooms. One of the aims of the course is to show that the alleged difficulty of reading poetry can be confronted and overcome and can yield unforeseen results that will light up the students’ relation to language and reading. We propose that poetry is a satisfying way of entertaining questions that encompass and confront the difficulties of relating to others and to the world. Whether we consider our place in the natural world, the agency we have in our lives and the lives of others, or whether we wonder how to deal with the beauty and the horror of the world, poetry invites us to read and reassess these questions.