Summer teacher and Made at Hugo House fellow Bill Carty talks a bit about his class and writing.
What is the title of your class?
To the Sciences!
People should take this class because?
As writers, it’s important to stretch the content and vocabulary of our work, to experiment as a means of delaying, at least temporarily, the familiar patterns of writing we fall into. I think the introduction of scientific language, perspective, and information is an excellent way of exploring unfamiliar language and content.
Are any of your works online and available to the public? (If no, we’ll remove this question from your survey)
I have poems in the following online journals:
Sixth Finch (1)
Sixth Finch (2)
What are you reading right now?
Recently I’ve been reading and re-reading Renata Adler’s novels-in-vignettes Speedboat and Pitch Dark. For this class, I’m reading The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes, about the overlapping world of scientists and poets in the 1800s, and Richard Dawkins’ Unweaving the Rainbow, which takes its title from Keats’ fear that science might steal the beauty and mystery from natural wonders.
What excites you about the material you’re teaching?
Teaching is always a good excuse to revisit writers I’m passionate about. I’ve found that if I pick up a favorite book of poems I’m likely notice surprising connections to science that I might have missed before. It’s another lens to view the writing through.
What do you like best about teaching at Hugo House?
The chance to sit around and talk about poetry! It doesn’t happen as often as it should.
What books made you want to write?
The first contemporary-ish poets I read were Richard Hugo and Galway Kinnell, and the landscapes that they describe, both human and natural, inspired me to give it a shot myself.
Is there a book, poem, essay, etc. by another author that you wish you had written yourself? Why?
I think it’s difficult to write about poetry, and it’s especially difficult to find criticism that embraces creativity and eschews jargon. For this reason, I’d have to say Mary Ruefle’s Madness, Rack, and Honey has been inspiring. I don’t necessarily wish I’d written it myself, but I wish I could write something like it.
What’s your favorite book? If you could pair it with a glass of wine or a pint of beer, what would you choose?
It might not be an original choice, but my favorite book is probably Ulysses. A year ago a few friends and I finished reading the majority of the book aloud to each other, and though I’d taken a class on Joyce before, to hear and experience the language in that way was inspiring. And, yes, there was an occasional Guinness.