English R1A

Reading & Composition: Poetry and the Varieties of English

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Fall 2008 Natalia Cecire
MWF 9-10 222 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

"T. S. Eliot, The WasteLand; Harryette Mullen, Sleeping with the Dictionary;

Frank O�Hara, Lunch Poems; William Carlos Williams, Spring and All; Diana Hacker, Rules for Writers; Joseph M. Williams, Style: Toward Clarity and Grace

A course reader will include poems by John Donne, Anne Finch, Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, William Butler Yeats, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes, Kenneth Koch, and Wendy Cope, as well as a few critical essays."


"Students are often enjoined to read �the great authors� in order to absorb �good English.� But English has so many variations across time and space that it�s hard to imagine what that could possibly mean. In this course, we�ll read a lot of poetry in order to observe some (but by no means all) of those variations, focusing on how we receive cues from language. What makes a text easy or hard to read? What conventions of spelling, grammar, rhythm, lineation, punctuation, pagination, and semantics do we expect to encounter when we read, and what do we do with texts that don�t meet those expectations? What is �style�? What makes a poem sound Dickinsonian, or Yeatsian?

This course will emphasize the interrelation of reading and writing, as we work to render our own thoughts in one of the varieties of English, an American academic dialect. In addition to writing and revising several short critical essays, students will produce short works mimicking the styles of different authors.


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