ENGLISH 297 - Introduction to Poetry
Section: 202
Term: SU 2010
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Prerequisite for concentrators in English and Honors English.
May not be repeated for credit.

Do you hate poetry? Does it terrify you? It doesn’t have to be so scary. Here you will learn all the skills you need to become an expert poetry reader and even a poetry-lover. Dazzle your friends, impress your parents, and amaze yourself. In this class, you will learn to read poetry in manageable forms—in individual volumes. And what’s more, you will read a lot of poetry and a lot of different kinds of poetry. This class will teach you how to hone your close reading skills and to develop a vocabulary for reading poetry and poetic forms. In this class, we will look at how reading poetry changes when you encounter a poem in the context of a volume of poetry rather than in an anthology, on the web, in a magazine, etc. The course is called “Reading Poetry Between the Covers” because we will focus on reading poems in the context of the volumes in which they first appeared in book form. What difference to our interpretations does a certain cover design make? How does the placement of the poem in the volume affect our readings? Why do you think that a certain poem comes first rather than another? What sort of tone does the opening poem set for the volume as a whole? Through our look at these particular published volumes, we will also resist the de-historicizing tendency of anthologies that tend to collapse an author’s career development into a few best known gems. Instead, we will read a poet like H.D. not throughout her career, but as she was published and encountered by readers in 1916 in the very specific material context of Sea Garden. This specificity will allow us to focus closely on the historical and cultural contexts for each volume—extra readings about the socio-political background for each volume will be available on the course website. In addition to learning to read these poets in their very specific socio-historical contexts, the broader range of the course—including volumes published from 1916-1977—will allow us to get a sense for the shifting developments in poetic form (and the historical contexts of its production) throughout the twentieth century. So you’ll not only learn to wow your friends with your poetry expertise, but you’ll also learn a lot about twentieth-century history. After this course, you will be a careful and knowledgeable poetry reader—able to interpret poetic texts and their material and historical contexts.

ENGLISH 297 - Introduction to Poetry
Schedule Listing
201 (REC)
MW 1:00PM - 3:00PM
Note: English 240 will be Permission of Instructor after the first day of class.
202 (REC)
MW 4:00PM - 6:00PM
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