Fall 2021

21L.004 Reading Poetry: L1 Noel Jackson MW 11:00-12:30p 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Improves Close Reading, Improves Oral Communication, Is Writing-Intensive

An introduction to poetry in English, chiefly by British and American poets, spanning more than 400 years of literary history. The aim is to demystify “great” poetry and to analyze it collaboratively for insight and pleasure. We will explore Renaissance, eighteenth-century, Romantic, and modernist poetry in some detail. Though the organization of the subject is mostly chronological, our focus will be less on names and dates. We will cultivate skills in careful reading and effective writing. Poets to be read may include William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, and Elizabeth Bishop.

21L.004 Reading Poetry: L2 Mary C. Fuller TR 7:00-8:30p 2-103

Prereq: none
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-H
Topics: Improves Close Reading, Improves Oral Communication, Is Writing-Intensive, Thinks about Race or Class

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.