English R1A

Reading and Composition: Five Ways of Looking at a Poem

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
4 Spring 2021 Swensen, Dana
MWF 12-1

Book List

Bishop , Elizabeth : Poems ; Burt, Stephanie : Don't Read Poetry ; Chan, Mary Jean: Fleche ; Harris , Will: RENDANG ; Hayes, Terrance : American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin ; O'Hara , Frank: Lunch Poems ; Rosenwasser, David: Writing Analytically, 8th Edition ; Shakespeare, William : Sonnets of William Shakespeare; Whitman , Walt: Leaves of Grass--introduced by Harold Bloom


In this course we will move through and across the history of poetry, focusing on poems and poetry through a set of open categories: Character, Identity, Form, Community and Sound. These open categories will be the lenses through which we interpret a broad swath of poetry in English. We'll also follow along with a few of these categories guided by the work of Stephanie Burt in her introductory text Don't Read Poetry.  Beginning in the 21st century with the work of poets as distinct as Terrance Hayes, Will Harris and Mary Jean Chan, we will move back and forth in time. From the 21st to the 16th century, we’ll end in the Renaissance period with the sonnets of William Shakespeare and Thomas Wyatt.  

This course will teach analytical writing, doing so through a broad variety of in-class and independent writing assignments. We will write three papers as we train our rhetorical skills and develop our ability to make complex arguments in discussion and on paper.

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