The Beginning of Terror: The Question of Beauty in Modern and Contemporary Poetry

This workshop will begin with a look at Rilke’s First Elegy, in which he writes, “For beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror, which we are still just able to endure, and we are so awed because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.” From there we will look at the impulse toward, and away from, beauty in modern and contemporary poetry. Finally, participants will attempt the first draft/first lines of a poem that addresses beauty or another similarly impossible abstraction.

Presenter: Heather Altfeld