NYC Poetry Festival | The Dangerous Pleasure of Art

Geoff Klock at Governors Island

Sun, Jul 29 at 3:30 p.m.   |   90 minutes

Hot takes are for babies; let’s get a context hundreds of years old for the things that concern us now.

Edmund Spenser’s Faerie Queene is an 800-page British allegorical poem from the late 1500s about Christian knights or whatever that nobody reads anymore but we don’t care about that. What we care about this 14 page section, which I am going to give you and go over in detail so you don’t need to know anything about it when you walk in the door, where one of the knights enters into the Big Bad’s pleasure garden and nearly gets ensnared.

That part of the poem, called the Bower of Bliss, is more than an adventure story (it’s a terrible adventure story) and more than a great bit of poetry (it is an insanely powerful and influential bit of poetry). It is a tour-de-force intellectual analysis of the relationship between art and morality, illusion and reality, sex and masculinity and violence and pornography and women — one that outshines 100 philosophers and 1000 think-pieces about Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Louis CK, Jeffrey Tambor and Woody Allen. Hot takes are for babies; let’s get a context hundreds of years old for the things that concern us now.


Teacher: Geoff Klock

Geoff Klock has a doctorate from Oxford and is a professor at BMCC-CUNY. He teaches philosophy (mostly the philosophy of art), Shakespeare, canonical poetry in English, parables, and film (mostly movies about movies, and David Lynch). He is the author of four academic books on things like television shows and superheroes and has been cited 290 times.


Venue: Governors Island

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Olio: A miscellaneous collection of art and literature.