English R1A

Reading and Composition: Making Heirs and Heirlooms

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2018 Lorden, Jennifer A.
MWF 10-11 225 Dwinelle

Book List

Boland, Eavan, trans.: After Every War: Twentieth-Century Women Poets; Delanty, Greg and Michael Matto, eds.: The Word Exchange: Anglo-Saxon Poems in Translation; Rich, Adrienne: The Fact of a Doorframe; Vuong, Ocean: Night Sky with Exit Wounds; Walcott, Derek: Collected Poems 1948-1984

Other Readings and Media

Other readings will be posted to bCourses.


W.B. Yeats once wondered, "Did that play of mine send out / Certain men the English shot?" But in a poem in honor of Yeats, W.H. Auden famously assured us that "poetry makes nothing happen," while Paul Muldoon put it more to the point: "if Yeats had saved his pencil-lead, / would certain men have stayed in bed?" Writers have always had a fraught relationship with their own times and the events that have shaped them. Like Yeats, they have struggled with the social and political implications literature might have or fail to have. This class will explore how poets have responded to and written history, in their own words and in translating the words of others. What does it mean to write the poetry of the past? What responsibility does literature have to its own era and to those that follow it? In turn, what duty might writers have to their own literary inheritance?

For the purposes of this class, we are neither poets nor historians but researchers whose practical task will be to develop arguments from the texts at hand. To that end, you'll complete readings with an eye toward contributing to a critical conversation, both through your in-class discussions with classmates and essays closely focused on the readings. You'll write four of these essays and revise three of them.

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