Fall 2022

21L.004 Reading Poetry: Section 1 Mary C. Fuller MW 1:00-2:30p 56-167

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

How do you read a poem?  Many people find poetry “difficult” – sometimes pleasurably and sometimes less so. But within that category of the difficult resides much that is of use and of value to us as readers and human beings.  Among the goals of the class, we will be developing and practicing some of the skills, habits, and knowledge to approach poetic texts – difficult or otherwise – so that you can judge for yourselves what they mean for you.  We’ll take a close look at the nature of evidence that can be used for thinking and talking about poetry:  the formal properties of poetic language as well the use of context. We’ll read a wide variety of poetry from 1900 through the present, with some glances further back, and we will explore a variety of tools and approaches, from the old (memorization, listening, and reading out loud) to the new (digitally enabled visualization and annotation).  Most of our reading will be in modern English, so that we can focus on how poets work with its particular properties and affordances, but any knowledge of other languages can be a valuable resource to contribute to our discussion. The last two weeks of the semester will focus on readings chosen and presented by the class.

21L.004 Reading Poetry: Section 2 Stephen Tapscott MW 7:00-8:30p 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H

An introduction to poetry in English. We will explore poems written during several periods and in several genres (nature-poems, narratives, the epic, sonnets, odes, experimental forms).  Focus will be less on names and dates than on tactics of analytic reading. Poets whose work we’ll read include William Shakespeare, John Keats, Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop, Langston Hughes, Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Liyoung Lee, and many others. Special course-related events (readings, lectures, film screenings) will take place on selected evenings throughout the term. Regular classroom hours will be reduced in the weeks for which a special event is scheduled.