Richard Sacks -- Spring 2023
Winter/Spring 2023 Enrichment Program Catalog (available in early December 2022)
Six-session course -- online (via Zoom) with class size limited to 23
Monday evenings, 6:30-8:30pm MDT
March 20, 27, April 3, 10, 17, 24, 2023
Derek Walcott’s epic-length Nobel Prize-winning poem Omeros – celebrated as one of the most poetically dazzling and spiritually soaring works of 20th century literature -- takes us on a transformative journey deeply rooted in Walcott’s love of his native Caribbean island home (St. Lucia), as well as in his love of Homer (hence the title Omeros) and Homer’s millennia of literary successors. And as the poem simultaneously inhabits the Mediterranean as well as the Caribbean, the Old World as well as the New, it also transports us to other distant horizons of time and place, especially as it leads us through agonizing trails of tears, what it calls “the incurable / wound[s] of time,” from the Atlantic slave trade to Wounded Knee and beyond, in our seemingly impossible hopes that our wounds -- historical and personal -- may heal. Join Dr. Richard Sacks, who spent four decades at Columbia University teaching its core great books course, in a close reading of the luminous poetic language and complex narrative structures of this astonishing poem, as it asks us to explore whether there is something in the human spirit and in the language of poetry that can discover and embrace a “cure / that precedes every wound” and thus can make it possible to “heal [t]he incurable.”
Please note that the course assumes some familiarity with the Iliad and Odyssey and also with the close reading of poetry.