English 180L

Upper Division Coursework: Lyric Verse

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2005 Booth, Stephen
Booth, Stephen
TTh 2-3:30 106 Wheeler

Other Readings and Media

Eastman, et al., eds.: The Norton Anthology of Poetry (long version [out of print, but cheap second-hand]) or Ferguson, et al., eds.: The Norton Anthology of Poetry


"This course will try for answers to the following questions (and questions like them). What is the essential thing about verse that causes us to distinguish it from prose? What value has verse that makes it any more worth readers' time than a paraphrase of it? What is valuable about ""sounding good""? Why do people who like verse (as opposed not only to those who don't but also to those who, for reasons I cannot fathom, pretend to like verse) like it? Why do some particular poems persist in the culture while others--including others that say similar things in apparently similar ways--get lots of attention for a while and then get forgotten?

We will read as many as possible of the lyric war horses of English and American verse and see what, if anything, they have that other poems that say similar things in comparable ways do not. I hope to show you that one can study a poem without ""interpreting"" it (by ""interpreting"" I mean stepping between a work and its readers to say that the work says something that, as one's presence as interpreter testifies loudly, it does not say).

Three papers, each of a length determined by how much you have to say and how efficient you are in saying it. The third essay will be in lieu of a final exam. "

Other Recent Sections of This Course

spring, 2020


Lyric Verse

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