T.S. Eliot claimed that “all great poetry [is] dramatic …” and “the greatest drama would always be poetic.” No two modern poet-dramatists exemplify this in their work more than Yeats and Lorca. Arguably the greatest twentieth century poets of the English and Spanish canons, respectively, both were inspired by the local imagination of folklore. Yeats turned to the Irish mythical figures Cuchulain and Emer; Lorca to “the women who live in the villages of Spain.” And each was embroiled in a civil war that redefined their country’s national identity. In this seminar, we will explore what surprising truths lie behind Yeats’ mask and within Lorca’s “poetic theatre,” as well as how their relationships with women and politics shaped their lives and their art. Ultimately, our search is for how Yeats’ obsession with mysticism and Lorca’s quest for “duende” ignited their literary work and how it can ignite our own passion for poetry and drama.
Guide: Jennifer Hoofard earned her Masters degree in Literature at Mills College, and holds a Ph.D. in English from UC Davis, where she studied with Sandra Gilbert. She specializes in Literature by Women, 20th Century American Literature, African American Literature, and Poetry. She has published poetry and literary criticism on Margaret Atwood, Tillie Olsen, and an interview with Toni Morrison, as well as authored the companion website for the 3rd edition of the Norton Anthology of Literature by Women. She has taught composition and literature classes at UC Davis, Mills College as a Visiting Assistant Professor, and at the University of San Francisco, prior to moving to Portland, where she currently teaches writing at PCC Sylvania.