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Martin Kevorkian, Chair CAL 226, Mailcode B5000, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-4991

Spring 2007

E 314L • Reading Poetry

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
33738 TTh
11:00 AM-12:30 PM
MEZ 1.216

Course Description

In this course, we'll learn how poems are constructed, how to discover poems' meanings, and how poems become culturally significant.

Unit 1: Technique & Form
First, we'll learn to understand the poem's structure through rhythmic patterns. We'll discuss line and stanza length, as well as similes, metaphors, and other rhetorical figures employed by poets. Students will informally present on the structural device of their choice. We'll also discuss different forms of poems: odes, sonnets, villanelles, free verse, etc. Each student will be required to research one form, create an anthology of poems in that form, and present on their findings. Students will also write a poem using some of the techniques and forms that they have studied.

Unit 2: Dwelling in Possibility: Poetic Language
In this unit, we'll learn what it means to be a literary critic. Students will read and informally present on critical responses to poetry. We'll discuss different theoretical approaches of writing and critiquing literature. The students will write several short response papers on the weekly reading assignments, as well as one formal paper analyzing a single poem. During this unit, we'll also learn about the poetry archives on campus.

Unit 3: Poetic Communities
At the end of the semester, we'll consider the places where poetry appears publicly. We'll watch documentary films about poetry communities, attend poetry performances, and discuss the social functions of poetry in history. We'll read political, autobiographical, and identity-based poems, and look for poetry as it appears in Austin, Texas in 2007. The students will write another poem and analytical essay near the end of the semester.

Grading Policy

2 analytical essays--(5 pages each) 30%
1 research project & oral report (10 minutes) 10%
2 informal presentations (5 minutes) 10%
2 creative writing / reciting (14 or more lines) 10%
6 short response papers (2-3 pages) 30%
4 peer reviews & daily discussion participation 10%


Course packet


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