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

Fall 2009

E 314L • Reading Poetry

Unique Days Time Location Instructor


Course Description

Please refer to the course schedule for course days, time, room location, prerequisites and possible cross-listings:

"Â…these things are important not because a high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because they are usefulÂ…" --Marianne Moore, "Poetry"

How are poems useful? In this section of Reading Poetry we will focus on this and three related questions: what are poems, what do they do and why do they matter? We will ask what poems are, how they work and how they come by whatever utility they posses, paying careful attention to their social and historical contexts as well as their own internal workings. We will read a wide variety of potential answers in both verse and prose taken mostly from writers known for their poetry.

E314L is a course designed to introduce students to the English major at the University of Texas, and it fulfills a substantial writing component. The primary function of this course is to help you develop your critical reading and writing skills. You will learn how to close read literary texts and think critically about them and their cultural and historical contexts. You will also learn how to write arguments that address the complexity and nuances of literary texts.

Grading Policy

Reading quizzes and short responses: 10%; Three close readings (1-2 pages): 15%; Two formal essays (3-5 pages): 50%; Annotated Bibliography: 10%; In-class exam: 15%


Probable readings include all or portions of: Milton, Paradise Lost, Areopagitica, and selected shorter poems; Wordsworth/Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads; Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855); Emily Dickinson, selected poems; Ezra Pound, selected poems and essays; William Carlos Williams, selected poems and essays; Alan Ginsburg, selected poems; Wallace Stevens, selected poems and essays; W. H. Auden, selected poems and essays; Robert Frost, selected poems and essays; Elizabeth Bishop, selected poems; Natasha Trethaway, selected poems; A Course Reader will provide secondary and shorter primary texts.


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