For 12 days at Big Bend National Park and other historical locations in Texas, students will learn about poem, writing during a summer course.
In past years, Dr. Jeremy Elliott, associate professor of language and literature, has led students in a study-abroad interactive course over the topic before, but it was offered only to those in Oxford.
The class works through 20 poems while reading them in the setting where they are composed. Elliott is now teaching a 15-student class in the same format modified to the cultural background of Texas and its natural landforms.
The class will begin May 13 on campus. After a day of preparation, the 12 days after are spent traveling to Big Bend National Park and the Hill Country.
“We will have alumni come before the trip and instruct watercolor in hopes of trying to incorporate the transcription of the landscape via watercolor,” Elliott said
In an attempt to provide the opportunity to expand the class beyond writing poems, Elliott said the students will have pocket journals with basic and watercolor paper. Watercolors and script will be encouraged so students might have another means of individual interpretation.
Elliott said he enjoys teaching in such a way that trains students for graduate school. Although he recognized the need for such general knowledge, he said the class stemmed from an area of personal passion, as he wants prospective students to participate out of a love for the content.
Elliott and Jeff Childress, , worked together to create potential ideas for future courses.
They are considering combining the stories of ‘Desert Fathers’ with the new class, ‘Desert Poetry.’ They said they hope to co-teach and incorporate the meditation-like mindset with an emphasis on conveying thoughts through poems.
Despite being a graded course, Elliott said the academic expectations are posed to be a challenge for those who neglect the opportunity to be creative.
Elliott said he hopes that by taking students to places of mere isolation, the depth of thought can be furthered and appreciated in a way that technology cannot compare.
This literature elective will be offered in Summer 2019 and is capped at 15 students, not specified to any major.