English 131

American Poetry

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2011 O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
O'Brien, Geoffrey
MW 4-5:30 note new room: 101 Moffitt

Other Readings and Media

Lerner, B.: Mean Free Path; Rankine, C.: Don


This survey of U.S. poetries will begin with Whitman and Dickinson and then move through both expatriate and stateside modernisms, the Harlem Renaissance, the Objectivists, the New York School, and Language Poetry, on our way to the contemporary. Poets considered may include Dunbar, Eliot, Pound, Stein, Toomer, Williams, McKay, Stevens, Hughes, Olson, Oppen, Niedecker, Moore, Bishop, O’Hara, Ashbery, Guest, Duncan, Ginsberg, Baraka, Spicer, Palmer, Hejinian, and several younger contemporaries. Along that route we’ll consider renovations and dissipations of conventional form and meter, who and what counts as a poetic subject, strategies of fragmentation and citationality, and the task and materials of the long poem. Primary and secondary readings will be drawn from a large Course Reader. There will be a take-home midterm, a final essay, and a final exam.

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