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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
32065 MWF
10:00 AM-11:00 AM
M. Harris

Course Description

Computer-assisted course

Poesis is making; thus, we will examine what it means to make poetry. In turn, we will ask: what does poetry make and how does it make it? (After all, poetry is supposed to be dead. Can creation occur from beyond the grave?) With these two major questions in mind, we will explore multiple ways of reading poetry, and we will ask: how do these ways of reading inform/reform our understanding of poesis?

We will begin examining these questions by reading Aristotle’s Poetics and Sidney’s The Defence of Poesy. We will then read generically to understand the relationship between form and meaning. We will read romance (Chaucer), the English sonnet (Shakespeare), the Petrarchan or Italian sonnet (Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Gerard Manley Hopkins), satire (Donne), epic (Milton), elegy (Jonson and Gray), lyric (Wordsworth and Dickinson), and modernist responses (Eliot, Williams, Stevens) and post-modernist responses (Bishop, Plath, and Wright) to formalism. To broaden our understanding of the poem and how the poem seeks to engage with its readership, we will investigate our own ways of reading beyond formalism (psychoanalysis, deconstruction, new historicism, cultural materialism, post-colonialism, etc.).

The goal of this course is to prepare you for further advancement in the English major.

Grading Policy

Four essays (ranging between 2-6 pages) 70%
Classroom work (attendance, preparation, participation, presentations, in-class writing exercises, etc.) 30%

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.


Aristotle, Poetics
Sidney, The Defence of Poesy
Milton, Paradise Lost
Reading Packet from Jenn’s


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