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

Fall 2004

E 314L • Poesis: The Making of Literature

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
32055 MWF
12:00 PM-1:00 PM

Course Description

This course is computer-assisted.

This course will introduce students to the key issues and methods of inquiry of the English major. It will focus on poetry, which derives from a root meaning “to make.” The two controlling questions of the class, therefore, are: “How is poetry made?” (i.e. what informs a poet’s decisions in composing?), and “What does poetry make?” (i.e. what kinds of responses do readers have?)

This course is an introduction to poetic forms, periods, and modes of criticism. We discuss elements such as versification and prosody, and rhetorical figures and tropes in order to understand and evaluate how they contribute to a work’s meaning and purpose. To this end, we focus on the sonnet as a poetic form and on explication as a literary method. Next, we look at Romantic poetry and poetic theory in a historical and cultural, as well as in a literary context, including a consideration of the role of publishing and design in the reception of poetry that extends into the Victorian period. Finally, we turn to Modernist poetry and the lingering culture of difficulty that Modernist creative principles have erected around the academic study of poetry.

Grading Policy

Two explication/response papers (2-3 pages each) 15% each
Midterm exam 20%
Term paper topic proposal (1-2 pages) 5%
Term paper (6-8 pages) 35%
Learning Record Online (responses, interpretive projects, regular discussion forum postings, equivalent to ~4 pages) 10%

Attendance is mandatory in this course. Absences will be excused for medical or religious reasons alone, and will require proper documentation. More than three unexcused absences will result in a final grade lowered by one full letter. More than five unexcused absences will result in course failure.


Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin, ed., Critical Terms for Literary Study
William Shakespeare, Sonnets
William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience
William Butler Yeats, Collected Poems
Course packet with additional poems (Ben Jonson, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hogg, C. Rossetti, E. B. and Robert Browning, Arnold, Clough, Meredith, MacNeice, Bishop, Merrill, Sexton, Glück)


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