The University of West Georgia’s School of the Arts program kicked off the spring semester by hosting its first of The Other Night School events, “The Anatomy of a Poem.”
The Other Night School is a dynamic learning environment provided by UWG’s College of Arts and Humanities, which tackles intriguing topics of interest and deconstructs them in an interactive community setting. The seminar was held at the Newnan Carnegie Library on Jan. 21, 2020. It began with a small reception of food and beverages at 6 p.m. and continued on into the heart of the event with the talk itself beginning at 6:30 p.m.
UWG’s School of the Arts (SOTA) Director and Professor of English, Chad Davidson, led this specific event and began by proposing the thought-provoking topic of how to truly make meaning of poetry, along with the question of where it may derive its power.
Davidson highlighted the importance of poetry, noting that it has been preserved back to the days of Homer, the legendary author of the Iliad and the Odyssey within Greek literature, in the eighth and ninth century B.C.
“It’s quite easy, really, to turn people onto it. There’s a reason it’s been around for thousands of years,” said Davidson.
During his speech, Davidson referenced the great English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who refers to poetry as “the best words in the best order.” The poem that Davidson chose to unpack at the event was “The Road Not Taken,” written by the American poet Robert Frost. He noted the use of antiquated words that still feel modern, making it a timelessly relatable piece. After emphasizing the importance of the rhyme structure, and how best words, best order was utilized, he reflected on the poem as being a “cultural touchstone.”
During this event, Davidson referred to poetry as “a careful deployment of language” as well as being “constructed by meaningful ambiguity.”
“Poetry specifically is condensed material, so it lends itself to discussions and educational programming,” said Davidson. “Unlike a novel or a film [which the audience would have to know beforehand], many poems can be read and discussed easily in a short presentation. Moreover, poetry often calls for a kind of linguistic precision and verbal economy that renders it uniquely suited for the task.
“It’s heartening to me to see so many out to learn about poetry when they could easily watch a basketball game or go to the cinema,” said Davidson. “If I can change some minds about poetry, well that’s a win-win.”
The Other Night School is a dynamic learning environment provided by UWG’S College of Arts and Humanities, which tackles intriguing topics of interest and deconstructs them in an interactive community setting. For the Spring 2020 semester, UWG professors such as Davidson and others will continue to alternate between Newnan, Carrollton, and Serenbe to present topics in literature, language, history, art and music. Students, as well as all members of the community, have the opportunity to attend and enjoy The Other Night School for the remainder of the semester, with events scheduled to occur up until April 21 of this year. Although tickets are not required for entrance at the door, attendees can RSVP for the chance to win door prizes.
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