English 203

Graduate Readings: Lyric, Poetry, Poetics

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Fall 2016 Falci, Eric
W 3-6 107 Mulford Poetry
Graduate Courses

Other Readings and Media

All readings will be available online and in a course reader.  Among a few other selections, we will most likely read texts by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Mill, Keats, Arnold, Mallarmé, Pater, Hopkins, Yeats, Eliot, Moore, Pound, Stein, Olson, Richards, Empson, Wimsatt and Beardsley, Brooks, Valéry, Benjamin, Adorno, Abrams, de Man, Culler, Riffaterre, Lacoue-Labarthe, Celan, Derrida, Freud, Jakobson, Glissant, Barbara Johnson, Susan Stewart, Virginia Jackson, Lyn Hejinian, Charles Altieri, Marjorie Perloff, Robert Kaufman, Giorgio Agamben, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Denise Riley, Juliana Spahr, Caroline Bergvall, Claudia Rankine, Lisa Robertson, and Simon Jarvis.


This course will provide an introduction to poetics and theories of poetry, especially lyric poetry, since the early 19th century.  We will watch as conceptualizations of poetry, lyric, and verse torque and shift throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, beginning, roughly, with Wordsworth’s “Preface” to Lyrical Ballads and moving through the “New Lyric Studies” of our own critical moment.  We’ll look at a number of the key nineteenth- and twentieth-century statements on poetry and lyric as we reconsider the projects of the New Critics alongside of other types of formalist scholarship, the place of poetry within structuralism and deconstruction, and the importance of poetry in several varieties of Marxist aesthetics and psychoanalytic theories. As we come to more recent writings, we’ll investigate poetry in relation to matters of perception, subjectivity, cognition, technology, politics, ecology, and history. We will pay close attention to the shapes (formal, spatial, metrical, acoustic, generic) and textures (sonic, graphic, etymological, figural, rhythmic) of a small handful of poems, most of which will be dictated by our theoretical and critical readings, but some of which we’ll choose as a class at the start of the semester.  My hope is that the class is able to follow three interweaving tracks over the course of the semester: 1) the longer tradition of thinking about poetics since Wordsworth; 2) the course of contemporary scholarship on lyric and poetry over the past several decades; and 3) the routes taken by contemporary poets as they refashion lyric within their own practice.  All enrolled students will have the option of writing two conference-length papers (8-10 pages) or one article-length essay (20-25 pages).

This course satisfies the Group 4 or Group 5 requirement.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2019
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
203/1 Graduate Readings: William Faulkner and the Historical Novel Goble, Mark
203/2 Graduate Readings Miller, Jennifer
203/3 Graduate Readings: The Queer and the Oriental Leong, Andrew Way
203/4 Graduate Readings: Renaissance Drama Knapp, Jeffrey
203/5 Graduate Readings: Nineteenth-Century U. S. Historical Poetics Otter, Samuel
Fall, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
203/1 Graduate Readings: Allegorical Moments: Public, Private, and the Writing of Everyday Life Hejinian, Lyn
203/4 Graduate Readings: American Genres Serpell, C. Namwali
203/5 Graduate Readings: Prospectus Workshop Abel, Elizabeth
Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
203/1 Graduate Readings: Radical Enlightenment? Goldstein, Amanda Jo
203/2 Graduate Readings: The Novel in Theory Hale, Dorothy J.
203/3 Graduate Readings: Prospectus and Grant Workshop Thornbury, Emily V.
203/4 Graduate Readings: Digital Humanities for Medieval Studies Nolan, Maura
203/5 Graduate Readings: Contemporary Chicanx/Latinx Novels Gonzalez, Marcial
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
203/1 Graduate Readings: Caribbean Literature and Culture Ellis, Nadia
203/2 Graduate Readings: Comparative Colonialisms: Latin America and the U.S. Saldaña, Maria
203/3 Graduate Readings: Materiality Flynn, Catherine
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
203/1 Graduate Readings: World Systems Theory and the Asian Anglophone Novel Lye, Colleen
203/2 Graduate Readings: The Political Economy of Life and Death in African American Literature and Culture JanMohamed, Abdul R.

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