COML 1134: Reading Poetry (FWS) #

Week 1: Jan 24, 26 – Introduction #

We will collectively discuss several poems and the reading strategies we use when discussing them. Then, we will discuss the gap or concordance between the "poem" and the "poetic." Your task will then be to write about what the "poetic" means to you, and to follow this with a discussion of how a poem you have read or written concords with or fails to live up to your notion of the "poetic." The focal texts will be Louise Glück's "Education of the Poet" and Lawrence's "Preface to the New Poems."

Essay 0 - “First Day” (Due 1/27, 22:00)

Essay 0 - Peer review (Due 1/30, 22:00)

Week 2: Jan 31, Feb 2 – Repetition #

We discuss the stakes of repetition in poems and in life, as scaffolded around a selection of poems by Stein, Poe, and Swinburne, and treatises on the concept of repetition by Kierkegaard ("Repetition") and Freud ("Beyond the Pleasure Principle"). More specifically—how does repetition relate to recollection, or the inability to recollect traumatic events?

Week 3: Feb 7, 9 – Rhyme #

Rhyme might be understood as a more specific form of repetition, but it also plays a somewhat distinct role in the scaffolding or structure of the poem. This week, we continue to investigate the relation between rhyme and the compulsions associated with repetition, while extending this discussion to the notion that rhyme exerts a binding force at the level of the stanza—that it is an overt, artifical phenomenon that puts into question the agency of the poet in the face of linguistic constraint.

Week 4: Feb 14, 16 – Meter #

How have poets, critics, and readers learned to employ or receive the effects of "meter" in poetry over time? Prosodic patterns can create seemingly natural effects in the body of the reader-auditor, one which escape our conscious attention, but these effects are seeminly dependent on how they are brought to the fore through context and through the knowledge we produce around metrical conventions.
Essay 1 - "Forms of Repetition" (Due 2/17, 22:00)

Week 5: Feb 21, 23 – Voice #

Individual Conferences (Feb 20-24) [schedule]
In the past few weeks, we have treated words and sounds as the primary objects of the poem, as those objects are subject to various forms of repetition. Now we take as our object the act of address that the poem enacts. The term "voice" will act as a shorthand for this act of voicing or addressing another. What is at stake in the act of addressing a specific object from a specific subjective position in a given poem?

The focal text will be T.S. Eliot’s “The Three Voices of Poetry.”

Week 6: Mar 2 – Apostrophe (19th Century) #

We will discuss the function of apostrophe in the lyric, by reading two central essays on the term: Jonathan Culler’s “Apostrophe,” and Barbara Johnson’s “Apostrophe, Animation, and Abortion.” Poems for this week will largely come from the 19th century—e.g., Keats, Shelley, Baudelaire.

Week 7: Mar 7, 9 - Apostrophe (20th Century) #

We will continue the discussion from last week, in relation to works by Césaire, Plath, O’Hara, and other poets from the 20th century.

Week 8: Mar 14, 16 - Prosopopoeia (16th, 21st Century) #

We discuss the differences between apostrophe and prosopopoeia, in relation to sonnets from Early Modern England, and in relation to some more recent works which seem to be in dialogue with their predecessors.

Essay 2 - “Poems in Dialogue” (Due 3/17, 22:00)

Week 9: Mar 21, 23 – Special Topics #

Individual Conferences (Mar 20-24) [schedule]

In this section of the course, we will return to certain concepts of interest from past weeks with a renewed focus on applying them in the new context of a specific poetic sequence or selection of poems. Or we may focus on certain special topics not covered thus far, e.g., “modernism,” “theory of the lyric,” “muteness,” “aesthetics,” “new media,” “poetics of the feminine,” “the prose poem,” “ecopoetics,” “translating poetry”…

Week 10: Mar 28, 30 — Special Topics #

Week 11: Spring Break #

Week 12: Apr 11, 13 — Workshop #

Workshop on reading and writing about academic articles.

Essay 3 - “Literature Review” (Due 4/14, 22:00)

Week 13: Apr 18, 20 — Special Topics #

Individual Conferences (Apr 17-21) [schedule]

Week 14: Apr 25, 27 — Special Topics #

Week 15: May 2, 4 — Final Work #

Final Proposal (Due 5/6, 22:00)

Week 16: May 9 — Final Work #

Course-Teacher Evaluations due (online)

Essay 4 - “Final” (Due 5/12, 22:00)

Last update: 5/22/2023
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