ENGLISH 340 - Studies in Poetry
Winter 2020, Section 001 - Poetry and Poetics: From William Shakespeare to Layli Long Soldier
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
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Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:


It’s entirely possible for one to comprehend the meanings of most texts without paying much attention to the formal and linguistic elements that produce such meanings. Fortunately, poems make this difficult and ask us to attend more closely to how language does the things that it does. How, for example, can a single word generate multiple, even conflicting, interpretations concerning its significance? How do the rhetorical devices foregrounded in poetry—such as metaphor, metonymy, apostrophe, and personification—structure the modes of relation through which we organize our lives? How do various arrangements of words move us to tears, open new worlds, instigate actions, and even make nothing happen (as W. H. Auden has it)?

This course will take up such questions as we develop our abilities to read, write, and think as students of poetry. While our primary focus will be on learning how to engage with the subtleties of poetic language (including meter, rhyme, rhythm, figure, diction, sound, and syntax), this engagement will lead us to consider the broader philosophical and political issues that our readings raise, concerning, for example, the place of poetry in modern life, the relation between poetry and history, and the fundamental question of what makes a poem a poem. Readings will span from the early modern period to the present and will cover a wide range of forms and subgenres (including the sonnet, ballad, ode, haiku, villanelle, sestina, dramatic monologue, elegy, erasure, and concrete poem). All students are welcome, and no prior knowledge is expected.

Course Requirements:

Assignments include a series of short response papers, two formal essays, and a creative project.


ENGLISH 340 - Studies in Poetry
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
002 (SEM)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
003 (SEM)
 In Person
MW 10:00AM - 11:30AM

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