Lawyers | Poets | Poetry

Professor James R. Elkins
College of Law
:: West Virginia University
Fall, 2017

Week 1 (August 21, 2017): Introduction to the Course

Reading about the Course (from the "finding the lawyer poets" green file folder)

Reading about Poetry (essays and articles in the "an introduction" green file folder)

Perusing: "Miscellany of Notes & Fragments for Students in Lawyers, Poets, and Poetry."

| Supplemental Web Intro |

Week 2 (August 28, 2017): A First Evening of Poetry

Course Anthology: The Course Anthology is Legal Studies Forum Poetry Anthology, 41 Legal. Stud. F. 1-657 (2017). The first assignment in the Course Anthology: pp. 17-132

Featured Poet: A Poet's Evening: Joseph Caldwell (a Charleston, West Virginia lawyer and poet) [on-line text]

Web Resources: Richard Taylor

Richard Taylor's Poetry appearing in the Legal Studies Forum

Poets Laureate Talk about Poetry Out Loud [4:21 mins.] [Kentucky Arts Council] 2016 Kentucky Writers Day: Richard Taylor [5:56 mins.] Richard Taylor ["Richard Taylor, previous poet laureate, reads at 2013 Kentucky Writers' Day ceremony"] [5:01 mins.] [ 2013] Spring with Accents [11:05 mins.] [Richard Taylor reads from his book Fading Into Bolivia at the Lexington Public Library's Farish Theater, 2012] Open Mic [3:04 mins.]

Week 3: Monday, September 4, 2017 (Labor Day :: No scheduled class) (Reading Assignment Only) (We will find time, as we proceed, to discuss the poems in this reading assignment.)

Course Anthology: pp. 125-179 (Warren Wolfson, Fiona Tinwei Lam, George Higgins, Thomas J. Erickson, Jacqueline St. Joan, Charles Hughes, Charles Reynard, Laura Schulkind); pp. 259-284 (Peter Hrastovec & Merle Nudelman); pp. 353-408 (Michael Sowder, Shaunna Oteka McCovey, Richard Krech); pp. 443-463 (Reginald Dwayne Betts).

Web Resources
for poets whose work appears in the Course Anthology

Warren Wolfson

Warren Wolfson: An Illinois Judge Talks about Being a Poet:

Fiona Tinwei Lam

Writer's Studio Online Info Session
[video :: 2:06 mins.]

"Chrysanthemum" [video :: 2:31 mins.] "Aquarium" [video :: 1:08 mins.]

Thomas J. Ericson

Ericson reads "The Breathing Lesson"
[1:26 mins.]

Peter Hrastovec

In Lieu of Flowers
[video :: 3:10 mins.]

Michael Sowder

"That Drink" [0:48 mins.] A Reading-Pt1 [video :: 11:13 mins.] [2012] [reading "The Middle Way," found in the LPP Course Anthology at 358-359] [2:26 mins to 4:58 mins.] Pt2 [8:21 mins.] [another reading of "The Middle Way" :: Salt Lake City Art Reading :: 9:37 mins. to 12:00 mins.]

Richard Krech

In Chambers [video :: 9:24 mins] Travel Poems [video :: 7:22 mins.] Poems [video :: 5:29 mins.] Fable [video :: 1:17 mins.]

Week 4: Monday, September 11, 2017: James Clarke

James Clark, Oblique Verdicts (Holstein, Ontario: Exile Editions, 2017)

Web Resources

James Clarke Reads the Poem "How to Bribe a Judge [video :: 2:13 mins.] A Suicide Opened the Door to Poetry [1:57 mins.] The Human Face of Law [2:29 mins.] Swervings of the Heart Montréal Review, February 2013

Week 5: Monday, September 18, 2017: James Clarke & Frank Pommersheim

James Clarke

James Clarke, Fugitive Light, 39 Legal Stud. F. 1-89 (2015)

James Clarke, Marginal Notes, 40 Legal Stud. F. 35-97 (2016)

Course Anthology (James Clarke poems): pp. 181-205

Frank Pommersheim

Frank Pommersheim’s poems appear in 28 Legal Stud. F. 133-167 (2004); 29 Legal Stud. F. 269-270 (2005); 30 Legal Stud. F. 487 (2006); 41 Legal Stud. F. 309-335 (2017) [Note: a significant number of the poems appear in the LPP Course Anthology, at pp. 309-335.]

Web Resources (Haiku)

Haiku: Poetic Form
Academy of American Poets
[Haiku "focus[es] on a brief moment in time," makes " use of provocative, colorful
images," and provides "a sense of sudden enlightenment and illumination."]

Eastern Philosophy: Matsuo Basho [5:46 mins.] Matsuo Basho [4:56 mins.]

Frank Pommersheim: Haiku Inspired Poetry

Buddha Poems [7:50 mins.] A Reading [9:44 mins.] [begin viewing at 3:22 mins.] Pt2 [9:50 mins.] Pt3 [10:00 mins.]

Week 6: Monday, September 25, 2017: Lawyer Poets & the World of Law

James R. Elkins (ed.), Lawyer Poets and That World We Call Law: An Anthology of Poems about the Practice of Law (New York: Pleasure Boat Studio, 2013)

For this week's assignment please read Tim Nolan's introduction (pp. 15-18), and the poetry at pp. 19-80, skipping the poems at pp. 81-100, and picking up the reading again at p. 101 and continue to finish the collection at p. 212. You may also find of interest my note on the "Compilation of the Anthology," at pp.215-219. [Note: If you despair at the prospect of reading so many lawyer-themed poems, you might want to skip the poems in the section titled, "What Logic There Is" (pp. 129-160).]

In addition, to the poems in the Elkins anthology, you might also want to peruse the lawyer|law related poems in the Course Anthology:

Tom Weston, "Only One Question" (pp. 43-44)

Warren Wolfson, "Oral Argument" (p. 128)

Fiona Tinwei Lam, "Consideration" (pp. 133-134)

George Higgins, "The Book" (p. 136); "No Particular Morning" (p. 137); "Notes" (p. 138)

Thomas J. Ericson, "The Lawyer Who Died in the Courthouse Bathroom" (p. 148); "Chester's Pants" (p. 150), "The Mother" (p. 151); "Speaking in Tongues" (p. 152); "Court Appearances" (p. 154); "Reasonable Doubt" (p. 156); "The Breathing Lesson" (p. 157): "Between Witnesses" (p. 158)

Jacqueline St. Joan, "Just Ice Machine" (pp. 162-163); "Restraining Order" (p. 164)

Charles Hughes, "Lawyer Story: Settlement, 2001" (p. 171)

James Clarke, "The Old Judge Looks Back" (p. 198); "Imagining the Afterlife" (p. 199); "What Haiku Teaches" (p. 200); "The Pragmatist" (p. 204)

Merle Nudelman, "The Practice of Law" (pp. 273-276)

Shivani Mehta, "The Magistrate" (p. 473)

John Glowney, "The Trial Lawyer" (p. 568)

Web Resources
[lawyer poets whose work appears in the anthology,
Lawyer Poets and That World We Call Law]

Ace Boggess
Ace Boggess at Chapters, Huntington, West Virginia
[26:20 mins.]

Lee Robinson
Lee Robinson Opens A Gathering of Poets
[0:47 mins.]

Ann Tweedy
Ann Tweedy at Two Idiots Peddling Poetry
[5:24 mins.]

Richard Krech
In Chambers [9:24 mins.] Travel Poems [7:21 mins.] Poet [5:28 mins.]

Joyce Meyers
100 Poets Reading
[1:51 mins.]

Tim Nolan
Tim Nolan Reading "Old Astronauts"
[1:50 mins.]

Warren Wolfson
Chicago Lawyer Magazine Interviews Warren Wolfson
[4:55 mins.]

Martin Espada
Garrison Keillor Introduces Martin Espada [1:49 mins.] [reading "Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper"] The Writer's Block: A Video Q&A [5:48 mins.] [comments on being a lawyer and a poet, and the relationship of lawyer to poet] Martín Espada on the Power Behind Poetry [14:17 mins.] [Bill Moyers] [longer version :: 30:02 mins.] Martín Espada Discusses Poetry and Activism [28:41 mins.] Martín Espada Reflects on Struggles Past & Present in "Vivas to Those Who Have Failed" [14:35 mins.] [Democracy Now] Martin Espada Reading "How We Could Have Lived or Died This Way [3:28 mins.]

Simon Perchik
Simon Perchik, Poet
[28:18 mins.]

Michael Blumenthal
Michael Blumenthal Reads his Poetry at WVU [3:12 mins.] What is the Value of Art [7:33 mins.] Pt2 [3:46 mins.] The Road Not Taken-Twice: Of Courage and the Choice Between the Literary and the Legal Life [59:49 mins.] [University of Chicago] [Blumental appears at 6:35 mins.]

Lawrence Joseph
2009 Lecture: "Being in the Language of Poetry, Being in the Language of Law" [1:02:25 mins.] [Lawrence Joseph reads the final 26 lines of his poem, "Curriculum Vitae" at 30:10 to 31:31 mins. of his 2009 University of Oregon lecture.] Interview [28:30 mins.] [end class presentation at 13:00 mins.] [relevant Joseph commentary runs from 20:46 mins. to 22:56 mins.] [Lawrence Joseph's poems, "The Game Changed" and ""Curriculum Vitae" appear in James R. Elkins (ed.), Lawyer Poets and That World We Call Law: An Anthology of Poems about the Practice of Law 175-177, 200-202 (Pleasure Boat Studio, 2013).] Lawrence Joseph Reads his Poem "Unyieldingly Present" [3:15 mins.]

Charles Reynard
Judge Charles Reynard: Contemplation in Courtroom 5-C
[36:19 mins.]

Week 7: Monday, October 2, 2017: Steven Richman, Missed Exits, 36 Legal Stud. F. 283-349 (2012)

Web Resources

Steven M. Richman--Law Firm Profile

Week 8: Monday, October 11, 2017: Margaret Hoehn

Margaret J. Hoehn, Trajectories, 33 Legal Stud. F. 1-119 (2009)

Margaret J. Hoehn, Dying Miserably for Lack of What is Found in Poems, 39 Legal Stud. F. 31 (2015) [online text]

Web Resources

Margaret Hoehn Reads "String Bird" [video :: 1:30 mins.] Margaret Hoehn Reads "What Softly Calls Back" [video :: 2:26 mins.]

Shamanic Poetry
[video :: 3:22 mins.]

Week 9: Monday, October 18, 2017: Charles Willams

Charles Dowling Williams, Seasons at West Wind Farms, 40 Legal Stud. F. 103-261 (2016); West Wind Farm Haiku (xerox handout)

Web Resources: Haiku

Haiku: The Art of The Short Poem Official Trailer [5:51 mins.] [a brief comment by Roberta Beary] Haiku: An Introductory Webinar [16:01 mins.] St. Olaf Asian Studies Haiku Documentary [10:00 mins.] Pt2 [9:58 mins.] Alan's Haiku Journey [15:02 mins.] [Alan Summers, United Kingdom] Amazement of the Ordinar--Life through a Haiku Lens [5:48 mins.] [Alan Summers, TED Talk] The Haiku Foundation Readings: Peter Yovu [8:44 mins.] [reading from his book Sunrise at his Vermont home in 2012] Introduction to Basho's Narrow Road to the Deep North [12:31 mins.] Basho, the Chief Poet of Japan and the Hokku, or Epigram Verses 31:48 mins.] Matsuo Basho: Five Haiku [3:02 mins.]

Week 10: Monday, October 25, 2017: Gerry Grubbs

Gerry Grubbs, Radiant Kingdoms, 40 Legal Stud. F. 1-115 (2016) (Suppl. 1).

Gerry Grubbs, Poems in the Course Anthology: pp. 285-300.

Web Resources

Gerry Grubbs reads "Apple Blossoms [audio :: 0:56 mins.] [WVXU, 2014] Modern Day Poet Hidden in Plain Sight [5:16 mins.] [2015] WVXU (Cincinnati) Interview with Gerry Grubbs [audio :: 9:47 mins.] [2016] Amateur Poets and the Academy [Tyrone Williams, featured blogger, Poetry Foundation]

Week 11: Monday, October 30, 2017: Prose Poems

Course Anthology: Shivani Mehta (473-478); Susan Lewis (479-496); Jim Smith (497-530)

Michael Friedman Poems: 28 Legal Stud. F. 571-579 (2004); Michael Friedman, 30 Legal Stud. F. 531-540 (2006)

James Clarke Poems: Course Anthology (188, 192, 199, 201)

[Keep in mind that James Clarke's Oblique Verdicts which we read earlier in the semester contains a fair number of prose poems: pp. 8, 9, 22, 29, 43-45, 46, 59, 67, 69, 71, 74, 85, 86-87, 91, 92, 97, 101, 102, 104, 112.]

James Clarke, Old Wine | New Skins, 39 Legal Stud. F. 115 (2015) (adaptation & recomposition by James R. Elkins based on the poems of James Clarke)

Week 12: Monday, November 6, 2017: Course Anthology Poems

Course Anthology: Barry George (301-308); Anita S. Pulier (531-544); Ann Tweedy (559- 558); Kristin Roedell (559-563); Ron Self (591-598); Shahilla Shariff (615); Sherri Felt Dratfield (619-623); Najwan Darwish 625-635); David Krieger (637-650); and the Merle Nudelman poems (265-284) assigned in the Course Anthology for the Labor Day (Sept. 4) class, poems that we did not discuss in class.

Note: For Commentary by E.D. Hirsch on Reading & Writing about Poetry (for those of you who may be pursuing an alternative to the 'compose and introduce' a personal anthology of poetry) see: Edward Hirsch: Poets Writing Prose [14:05 mins.] [Hirsch's statement begins at 5:25 mins. and ends at 7:50 mins.] How to Read a Poem & Fall in Love with Poetry [1:20:24 mins.] [Hirsch's statement begins at 14:29 mins. and ends at 18:58 mins.]

Week 13: Monday, November 13, 2017: Discuss the "Miscellany of Notes & Fragments for Students in Lawyers, Poets, and Poetry," the compilation of notes and statements about poetry that was provided to you earlier in the semester.

Monday, November 20, 2017 | Thanksgiving Week | No Classes

Monday, November 27, 2017 | No Assigned Reading for this Post-Thanksgiving Class.November 28th, is the last day of scheduled classes.