by Sydney Pierce '13
Professor Katie Ford is the English Department’s resident poet – writing in her classes demands a level of comfort with both poetry and prose. Professor Ford shared with me a few of her ideas regarding how to write effectively about poetry.
First and foremost, the writer must allow the poems to be an absolute authority. What other critics have to say, and even what the poet herself has to say, is not nearly as important as what the poem says for itself. While Professor Ford might research historical, religious, or cultural contexts, she always gives the language of the poem primacy. She requires that students don’t let others interpret for them.
As for Professor Ford’s own writing process, she adheres to the more organic work of discovery. Allowing the essay to unfold as it is written may mean that more drafts are necessary, but it also allows a writer to reach the strongest, most complex conclusions possible.