Poetry for Ministry

REL977
Spring 2018
T 6:00-8:00pm
Area: 
Area V
Permission Not Required
Limited Enrollment
Course Description: 

This course is aimed at future ministers, church leaders, other students who may be entering related careers, and the occasional wild-eyed prophet. It is designed to teach students how to use poetry everywhere from the pulpit to street corners, from hospitals to weddings to your own most urgent prayers.

A working assumption of the course is that we can only speak of God metaphorically, so it makes sense to employ the art in which metaphorical language is most developed.  A second assumption is that, since much of the Bible is in verse, a knowledge of poetry in general will make one a better reader of the Bible.  And a final assumption is that the aesthetic experience of worship has declined in this country, and that while this decline might not be the cause of religious attrition in general, it is probably related.  Poetry can help with this.

The course will be a combination of lectures, seminar discussions, and workshops. 

Background Expected: 

There are no special prerequisites for this course, aside from a willingness to work hard.  Students who are relative beginners with poetry are welcome. 

Course Requirements: 

1)       Performance of a selected poem (without script) using a brief framing device

2)       Mid-term paper (1200 words) consisting in reflections on 2 poems for use in contrasting situations

3)       Term paper (three thousand words) on one of a choice of 3 topics. 

Basis of Evaluation: 

10% for full participation in class (not just physical attendance, but engaged participation)
25% on performance
25% on midterm paper
40% on term paper