English 165

Special Topics: Hardly Strictly Lyric Poems

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
6 Fall 2018 Hanson, Kristin
TTh 3:30-5 106 Wheeler Poetry
Special Topics

Other Readings and Media

Our primary texts will be CDs of The Flatlanders, Butch Hancock, Joe Ely, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Townes van Zandt, Guy Clark and others.  

A few brief secondary readings wlll be available as a course reader.  


Historically and etymologically, lyric poetry was sung to the accompaniment of a lyre.  Most lyric poetry studied as English literature today, however, reflecting the term "literature"'s own history and etymology, is related to the genre in ways other than by being sung.  The aim of this course is to study some lyric poetry in its traditional form of song. 

We will focus, however, not on the old lyric poetry that gave the genre its name, but on contemporary lyrics in a flourishing tradition whose live performances we have opportunities to hear locally:  songs of a set of (mostly West) Texans who perform regularly at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass music festival held in Golden Gate Park in October, as well as songs that influenced them.  We will consider the songs' lyrics' poetic forms, including their use of rhyme, alliteration, meter and syntactic parallelism; their imagery; differences between lyric and narrative songs; their cultural origins, including their bluegrass, blues and tejana influences; and some differences between sung and unsung poetry.  

The course will include attendance at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival and possibly other outings as well.

Other Recent Sections of This Course

Spring, 2019
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
165/1 Special Topics: Global Tudors Honig, Elizabeth
165/2 Special Topics: 21st-Century U. S. Poetry O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
165/3 Special Topics: John Milton's Last Poems Picciotto, Joanna M
165/4 Special Topics: The Art of Writing: The Visible Made Verbal Kleege, Georgina
165/5 Special Topics: Note: See English 165 section 6 Danner, Mark
165/6 Special Topics: Nabokov and Naipaul Hass, Robert L.
Danner, Mark
165/7 Special Topics: The Materialist Epic Goldsmith, Steven
165/8 Special Topics: American Humor Starr, George A.
165/9 Special Topics: The 1890s Puckett, Kent
Fall, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
165/1 Special Topics: Oscar Wilde and the Nineteenth Century Lavery, Grace
165/2 Special Topics: The English Department Marno, David
165/3 Special Topics: Literature and Media Theory Langan, Celeste
165/4 Special Topics: The Ecology of Utopia Goldstein, Amanda Jo
165/5 Special Topics: Reading Walden With Care Breitwieser, Mitchell
165/7 Special Topics: Utopian and (mostly) Dystopian Movies Starr, George A.
Spring, 2018
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
165/1 Special Topics: H.P. Lovecraft in His Tradition Breitwieser, Mitchell
165/2 Special Topics: Handel's Art in Setting English Words to Music Hanson, Kristin
165/3 Special Topics: Is It Useless To Revolt? Goldsmith, Steven
165/4 Special Topics: Neo-Slave Narratives JanMohamed, Abdul R.
165/5 Special Topics: Incarcerations: The Literature of (Physical, Mental, Spiritual) Imprisonment Padilla, Genaro M.
Fall, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
165/1 Special Topics: Genres of Free Speech Lavery, Grace
165/2 Special Topics: Art of Writing Hejinian, Lyn
Benjamin, Daniel
Spring, 2017
Course & Section Course Name Course Areas
165/1 Special Topics: The Graphic Memoir Wong, Hertha D. Sweet
165/2 Special Topics: Incarcerations: The Literatures of Physical Confinement and Spiritual Liberation Padilla, Genaro M.

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