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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
33745 MW
3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Course Description

Computer assisted instruction.

"Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes shall outlive this pow'rful rhyme" (Shakespeare, Sonnet 55)

Poets often stress the immortal quality of their verse, and, as Philip Sidney notes, poetry has existed throughout time "in the noblest nations and languages that are known." But what gives poetry this enduring power? On the most basic level, how does a poem work? This simple inquiry leads to a complex answer that raises other questions. What factors distinguish poetry from prose or certain verse forms from others? What influence do historical and cultural factors have on the poet and his work, and how does that work, in turn, effect changes among the readers who receive it? What is poetry, and what does it do?

In this class, we will closely read several kinds of poetry through a variety of critical lenses. We will also explore our own role as poets and communicators by writing not only responses to and essays about poetry, but also imitations and original poems. Close reading and analyzing poems of their choice, students will write three 4-6 page papers, one with a research component. Short responses, peer review, and announced quizzes throughout the course will encourage class discussion and provide a basis for daily grades. Our readings will culminate in a closer study of Shakespeare's Sonnets and "A Lover's Complaint," but we will give attention to poems from a number of eras, including the romantic and modern periods and contemporary slam poetry.

Grading Policy

Two 4-6-page poetry analyses 25% each
4-6-page paper wth research component 15%
5-7 quizzes 10%
Informal writing 15%
Original poetry and imitations 10%


Course packet
The Oxford Shakespeare Complete Sonnets and Poems, ed. Colin


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