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Course Catalog

Metaphor in Theory & Practice

Introductory/Intermediate | To craft powerful metaphors, writers need a deep understanding of how metaphors work. In this co-taught workshop, we’ll discuss metaphor theory by Black, Lackoff & Johnson, and Ricouer, and look at examples of metaphor in poets like Auden, Donne, Graham, Stevens, and Szymborska. We’ll ask: How does metaphor work in the reader’s mind? Is metaphor conceptual or ornamental? What is gained with metaphor or lost without it? Students will generate metaphors in poems or flash fiction workshopped in our final session.

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Instructor: Kascha Semonovitch and Roger Gilman

Class Type: 6 Sessions

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Start Date: 10/28/2018

End Date: 12/02/2018

Days of the Week: Sunday

Time: 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Minimum Class Size: 5

Maximum Class Size: 15

$265.50 Member Price:
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$295.00 General Price:

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Kascha Semonovitch and Roger Gilman

Kascha Semonovitch’s poems and essays have appeared in journals including Quarterly West, The Bellingham Review, Zyzzyva, The Kenyon Review and others, and in the chapbook Genesis by Dancing Girl Press. She has a PhD in philosophy from Boston College, an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College. She has fellowships at the MacDowell Colony and the Ucross Foundation, and her creative nonfiction was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Kascha has edited two collections of philosophical essays on early twentieth century European thought, and published academic essays, mostly recently Attention and Expression in Simone Weil. She has taught philosophy at Boston College, Seattle University, and Hugo House in Seattle. She runs an art gallery in Seattle.

Teaching Philosophy: I believe that we learn by reading – whether the work of our classmates, contemporary authors or canonical works. The work of a teacher lies in asking –and re-asking –questions that motivate us to pay attention to these texts. In class, we think together by articulating our interpretations. When we reach a conflict of interpretation – “Oh, I thought Robert Hass was talking about beauty” or “I thought Descartes meant his elbow”– then we inquire into the reasons for the conflict. After such careful reading, we are ready to re-read our own writing. We are better at paying attention to what is happening in syntax and semantics.

As a faculty member at Seattle University for over seven years, I taught the history of philosophy, critical thinking, and ethics. Philosophers pay attention to the history and internal consistency of systems and concepts. This type of paying attention is also invaluable to writers. For example, we might ask whether poet thought through the connections between the terms in a text and the deep history of texts that precede it? Does a fictional or poetic world hold together consistently? I love learning by reading with students.

Roger Gilman has a PhD in Philosophy from The University of Chicago. He taught interdisciplinary courses in the Arts and Sciences at Northeastern University in Chicago. He held positions as department Chair and Dean of the College. He is a former poetry editor of the Chicago Review and has published poems in various magazines, among them Poetry Northwest. He is a winner of the Boynton Prize in poetry and of a National Endowment of the Humanities fellowship. His research concerns theories of metaphoric meaning-making and the role of metaphors in artworks and scientific explanations.

Teaching Philosophy: Good teaching, in my view, requires listening well. I design classes around a question or puzzle. And I start each class session with a question. The question may be one I’ve elicited from the students or one that I think helps unfold the issues presented by the overall course plan. I think all of us are naturally and intensely curious about the world and ourselves. And especially about all the dimensions of our craft that helps define us and gives meaning to our lives. When a student makes a comment and adds to our conversation, I follow up their line of thinking and feeling with questions that I hope help them unfold their own ideas and induces them to compare them with the ideas others have expressed in class. My classes usually deploy a mixture of mini-lectures and group discussion, the use of well-targeted texts and liberal use of the white board. I usually provide short texts of theoretical work and a generous supply of poems to analyze, and hope that these texts inform each other.

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