To find subjects taught in previous semesters, you may also look at the archived Literature Supplements.

Fall 2018 Course Supplement IAP 2019 Spring 2019 Course Supplement
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21L.004 Reading Poetry: Poems and how to read them , Section 1 Mary C. Fuller MW 1:00 - 2:30 2-103

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

How do you read a poem? Intuition is not the only answer. In this class, we will investigate some of the formal tools poets use – meter, sound, syntax, word-choice, and other properties of language – as well as explore a range of approaches to reading poetry, from the old (memorization and reading out loud) to the new (digitally enabled visualization and annotation). We will also think collectively about how to approach difficult poems. In the process, we will read a wide variety of work in English, from the early middle ages up through the present; the spread might include T.S. Eliot, Derek Walcott, Elizabeth Bishop, Gregory Pardlo, Walt Whitman, James Weldon Johnson, Emily Dickinson, Adrienne Rich, Gwendolyn Brooks, Dr. Seuss, W.C. Williams, John Milton, Nick Montfort, Louise Gluck, Wallace Stevens, Tyehimbe Jess. The last two weeks will be devoted to readings proposed and presented by the class.


21L.704 Studies in Poetry: Songs, Sonnets and the Story of English Diana Henderson TR 3:30 - 5:00 4-253

Prereq: Two subjects in Literature
3-0-9 HASS-H, CI-M; Can be repeated for credit
Topics: Poetry

Sex, death, God, and rock ’n’ roll: from the first century of Modern English until today, the sonnet and other seemingly simple lyric forms have told of enduring obsessions and social change, of politics, gender, and religion. We will explore a range of these poems, as well as theoretical and critical analyses, in order to understand and test the limits of poetic form, genre, and tradition.

Our attention will move between past and present, sound and sight, creativity and communication. Readings will include some of the great Elizabethan sonnet sequences, the heart-rending meditations of Milton, Keats, and Lady Mary Wroth, nineteenth-century exposés of moral and political corruption from Wordsworth to George Meredith, and twentieth-century women’s and men’s expansions of poetic authority and form across class, race, and nations. Song will vie with written verse, but the surprising range of sonnets in English will provide our anchor as we consider why lyrics, the metaphor of poetic voice, and the legacy of the past remain so compelling–and important–in the modern world of innovation where talk is cheap.