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

Fall 2007

E 314L • Reading Poetry

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
35005 TTh
3:30 PM-5:00 PM
fac 7
Smith, L

Course Description

This course will introduce students to key issues and methods of inquiry in the field of English, while investigating major trends in British and American poetry. We will balance our time between "classics" and experimental or avant-garde texts, both old and new. For example, as we learn about poetic form, we'll pay particular attention to poems that stretch or reinvent the rules of form. We'll also examine other formal techniques, including meter, rhyme, and figurative language, noting how poems select their particular formalisms and how they achieve their effects. Lastly, we'll investigate what rules of form are being developed by contemporary poetries, including sound poetry, visual poetry, hypertext poetry, and text-image art.

Alongside our investigation of poetic form, we'll also examine the historical contexts that shape the ideas and material conditions of literature. To this end, we'll pay attention to social, political, and technological developments at three key moments in poetic production. Finally, we'll turn to questions of use: Considering poetry's small audience, does it continue to be a viable form of literature? What are poetry's particular uses? We'll explore these questions by examining reception practices and cultural contexts, both historical and contemporary.

Grading Policy

Weekly online postings (10%)
Two analytical essays (60%)
Final project (30%)


Texts for consideration include:
Poems by William Shakespeare, John Donne, George Herbert, William Wordsworth, John Keats, Percy Shelley, Emily Dickinson, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Dylan Thomas, T.S. Eliot, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, H.D., W.C. Williams, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Frank O' Hara, Robert Lowell, John Ashbery, Marilyn Hacker, Louise Gluck, Harryette Mullen, Alice Notley, Anne Carson, Janet Zweig, Theresa Cha, Johanna Drucker, Lyn Hejinian, Tom Phillips, and others.


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