"only one man—like a city"
English 260C (08198-8): Introduction to Poetry
Autumn 2002, TR 11:30-1:18 PM, Denney Hall 343
The language, the language
They do not know the words
the courage to use them .
—William Carlos Williams
When one first reads poetry, it is easy to get lost in its language. Compared
to the conventional and everyday prose style we're used to reading, poetry is
condensed, abstract, and difficult. Reading poetry requires associational and
rigorous acts of mind. This introduction to poetry course will help you become
active and analytical readers of poetry—and by extension literature in general.
First, we'll read a variety of poetry in order to obtain a broad sense of the
elements and forms of poetry. Then, we'll focus on selected major poets
from a variety of time periods in order to appreciate their diverse yet individual
world views. Finally, we'll read an individual book of poetry in order
to learn how poems complement one another and function together in a greater
whole. To help us in our endeavors, we'll use the web to research critical
responses to poetry in print and on the web. We'll also research poetry
groups and movements and share our findings with the class in a multimedia annotated
bibliography presentation. Individually, we'll keep a reading journal,
submit close readings of particular poems to the course listservice as well
as read those poems aloud for the class, compose a final paper that interprets
a book of poetry or group of poems of our own individual choice, and write an
essay examination designed to coalesce what we've learned about reading and
appreciating poetry. Class discussion will prove a vital learning tool
throughout the reading of and writing through our varied set of poems and poets.
Although this constitutes a lot to cover in one quarter-long course, our primary
goal is achievable: to become better and more attentive readers in order that
we develop the act of mind that suffices to experience poetry.
Meyer, Michael: Poetry: An Introduction, 3rd
ed. (available at SBX)
Williams, William Carlos: Paterson (available
course packet (available online)
handouts and resources linked from the course website
Assignments and Grade Distribution
two listserve responses (email, 250 words minimum), 10%
To prepare yourself and the rest of the class for
class discussion, at two points in the quarter you'll submit listserve responses
to individual poems prior to the day they're discussed. You will also be
responsible for reading aloud the poem you've chosen in class as well as starting
our discussion of the with your response questions. More instructions and
sign up here: Listserv Response Sign-Up.
a reading journal, 25%
To facilitate active reading, you'll keep a journal
that records your critical thoughts regarding the assigned poems. I'll post
prompts on the course website here to get you going. More instructions here: Reading Journal Study Questions.
a midterm exam, 25%
To apply your reading abilities and knowledge of
the elements of poetry, you'll write a cumulative essay exam that discusses
poems and poets already assigned in class as well as analyzes one or two new
poems. More information here: Exam Review.
a group presentation/annotated bibliography, 10%
To broaden our understanding of the sociohistorical
aspect of poetry, groups of three or four will present an annotated bibliography
focusing on how a particular poet fits into a poetry movement. The group will
use the web to find critical materials in print and online. It will evaluate
the most significant and useful 20 sources in a web-based annotated bibliography,
and then summarize the overall findings in a multimedia enhanced oral presentation.
More instructions and sign up here: Group Project
a final paper (2000 words minimum), 30%
To apply the active and close reading abilities honed
in the listserv responses and reading journal, you will compose a final paper
that analyzes how poems work together to create an overarching theme in either
a book of poetry or a group of poems above and beyond what we've read in class.
More instructions here: Final Paper Prompt.
We're going to be working with poetry, the most condensed
and difficult form of literature. Consequently, we'll all benefit from
sharing our questions and ideas. The listserv is the first step but only
a first step; let's continue those discussions in class.
There will be a one-letter final grade deduction
per class period for all unexcused absences beyond two. Arriving to class
more than 15 minutes late or leaving more than 15 minutes early constitutes
an absence. Athletic competition, jury duty, illness, and so forth will
be excused provided that you bring an official note within one week of your
return to class.
There will be a one-letter grade deduction per day
(not class period) for any assignment that is turned in late, unless you have
an excused absence.
Plagiarism is the representation of another's works
or ideas as one's own. It includes the unacknowledged word for word use
and/or paraphrasing of another person's work, and/or the inappropriate unacknowledged
use of another person's ideas. All cases of suspected plagiarism, in accordance
with university rules, will be reported to the Committee on Academic Misconduct.
Office of Disability Services
If you have any specific needs or concerns, please
feel free to discuss the issue with me during office hours. Students with
disabilities who need accommodations should be registered at the Office
for Disability Services, 150 Pomerene Hall, 1760 Neil Ave; 292-3307 (voice)
and 292-0901 (TTY).
If you have difficulty writing analytical and argumentative
Writing Center, 475 Mendenhall, 125 S Oval Mall, offers free help with writing
at any stage of the writing process for any member of the university community.
To schedule an appointment, call 688-4291.
On the Monday after finals week, I will have your
final papers ready for you to pick up. Make arrangements with me to retrieve
your work, or I will discard it after two quarters.
This schedule is subject to change, so listen in class and check online for possible revisions.
| Week 1
First Day Poems: Merwin, Creeley, Ferlinghetti
Poetry on the Web: Resources (In-class
textbook website: Meyer, Poetry: An Introduction
Meyer: Chs 1 and 2 "Reading Poetry" and "Writing about Poetry" (1-52)
course packet: William Shakespeare
Research and the Web II: The Web Source Search
to Search Terms and Wildcards (CCL)
Meyer: Ch 3 "Word Choice, Word Order, and Tone" (53-88)
course packet: Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Research and the Web II: Search Engines Redux (In-Class Assignment)
Meyer: Ch 4 "Images" (89-113)
course packet: John Keats
Research and the Web III: Evaluating
Research: Evaluating & Documenting Online Sources (CCL)
Meyer: Ch 5 "Figures of Speech" (114-137)
course packet: Friedrich Hölderlin
Research and the Web IV: The Print Source Search
Research in the Literature Classroom
Hunt (In-Class Assignment)
Literary Databases Treasure Hunt Worksheet (CCL)
| Week 4
Meyer: Ch 6 "Symbol, Allegory, and Irony" (138-169)
course packet: Emily Dickinson
Research and the Web Review
Meyer: Ch 7 "Sounds" (170-200)
course packet: William Butler Yeats
Reading Journals 1-5 due
| Week 5
Meyer: Ch 8 "Patterns of Rhythm" (201-222)
course packet: Langston Hughes
Meyer: Ch 9 "Poetic Forms" (223-250)
course packet: Wallace Stevens
course packet: Bloom, Frye, Miller, or Yukman
Reading and Annotating a Critical Article
| Week 6
Meyer: Chs 10 and 11 "Open Forms" and "Combining Elements of Poetry"
course packet: George Oppen
Composing a Web Page I: Netscape Composer
a Personal Web Page: A Step-By-Step Walkthrough (CCL)
course packet: Anne Sexton
Midterm Exam Review
||No Class: Groups Prepare Bibliographies
| Week 8
course packet: John Ashbery
Composing a Web Page II: Netscape Review
Preliminary Bibliographies (Ungraded) due
course packet: Fanny Howe
Final Paper Prompt
Constructing Audiovisual Presentations: Microsoft Powerpoint
98/99 (Mac and PC) (CCL)
Williams, Paterson, Book I
Lab Time for Annotated Bibliography Group Presentations
Williams, Paterson, Book II
Lab Time for Annotated Bibliography Group Presentations
| Week 10
||Annoted Bibliographies due by 4:30 P.M. Monday
Annotated Bibliography Group Presentations: Merwin, Frost, and Hejinian
No Class: Thanksgiving observed
| Week 11
Annotated Bibliography Group Presentations: Blake, Poe, Baudelaire
Reading Journals 1-15 due
Student Poetry Reading
||Final Paper due by 1:30PM