English 26

Introduction to the Study of Poetry

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2015 Bernes, Jasper
MWF 10-11 note new location: 219 Dwinelle

Book List

Wordsworth, William and Coleridge, Samuel Taylor: Lyrical Ballads; Ramazani, Jahan ed.: Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, Volume 1


This course aims to do two things: 1) serve as an introduction to the variety of forms, modes and styles of poetry written in English; 2) provide a survey of the historical transformation of poetry in English over the last 200 years. We will begin with a reading of William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s defining collection of poems, Lyrical Ballads (1798), whose examples of poetic form and thinking remain influential today. We will then analyze a few key works from the 19th century before dedicating the bulk of the course to an examination of 20th-century experiments with poetic form and the new ideas about poetry that accompanied them. Along the way, there will be focused attention to the essential elements of poetic technique (meter, rhyme, the line, metaphor, allegory, irony) as well as the various modes, genres, and styles in which poetry is written.

This will be a reading- and discussion-intensive course designed for prospective majors and transfer students looking to understand poetry and learn how to write about it critically. Students should leave the course able to produce a cogent analysis and interpretation of nearly any poem put before them.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Back to Semester List