English 26

Introduction to the Study of Poetry: The Reading of Poetry

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2019 François, Anne-Lise
TTh 5-6:30 106 Dwinelle


How can we become more appreciative, alert readers of poetry and at the same time better writers of prose? How do poems use language differently than other forms of expression? How do they know how to say things without actually saying them? This course attends to the rich variety of poems written in English, drawing on the works of poets from William Shakespeare to Frank O’Hara, Coleridge to M. NourbeSe Philip, Emily Dickinson to Li-Young Lee. We will use exercises in listening to, reading aloud, performing and memorizing poems, so as to familiarize ourselves with a number of different forms, including riddles, songs, sonnets, odes, villanelles, and ballads, while also engaging topics such as meter, rhyme, the poetic line, and figurative language. Through sustained discussions of individual poems and varied writing assignments, you will have the chance to explore some of the major periods, modes, and genres in English poetry and to expand the possibilities of your own writing.

Required Books (available at University Press Books, 2430 Bancroft):  The Norton Anthology of Poetry (either the Shorter Fifth Edition from 2005 or the Fourth Edition from 1996); Alfred Corn, The Poem’s Heartbeat: A Manual of Prosody

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