AMERICAN POETRY AFTER 1900
August 20 Introduction to the course
22 Practice in reading poetry: as assigned
27 Practice in reading poetry: as assigned
29 Practice in reading poetry: as assigned
September 3 Labor Day Holiday
PART ONE: BIG
5 Looking back: Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson
10 Hart Crane
12 William Carlos Williams
17 Marianne Moore
19 Theodore Roethke
24 Charles Olson
PART TWO: NEW
26 Ezra Pound
October 1 T. S. Eliot
3 T. S. Eliot
8 Fall Break
10 Robert Frost
15 No class: instructor at conference
17 Robert Frost
22 Langston Hughes
PART THREE: PROSPEROUS
24 E. A. Robinson
29 Wallace Stevens
31 Allen Ginsberg
November 5 Genevieve Taggard
PART FOUR: FREE
7 Paul Laurence Dunbar and Claude McKay
12 Gwendolyn Brooks
14 Charles Reznikoff
19 John Berryman
21 Thanksgiving Holiday
26 Robert Lowell
28 Elizabeth Bishop
December 3 Sylvia Plath
5 Adrienne Rich
10 Final class: review
There will be a take-home final examination.
STUDENT LEARNING GOALS: At the completion of this course, all students will be able to
In addition, graduate students in the M. A., M. F. A., and Ph. D. programs will practice research methods for the critical study of poetry and will be familiar with literary theories relevant to the study of 20th-century American poetry.
COURSE TEXT: Anthology of Modern American Poetry, ed. Cary Nelson. Oxford UP, 2000.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS: For each assignment, students are to read all poems in the text by a given author and will be asked to take special care in preparing specific poems as assigned.
Undergraduate students will write two 5-page essays: the first will be a traditional explication; the second, a study of the historical context of a poet
The graduate student essays will be due on the final day of class. Graduate students will also be asked to make brief oral reports on focused topics as assigned. All students in the course will write a take-home final examination.
BASIS FOR GRADES: Undergraduates: 30% for each essay; 20% for the final exam; 20% for attendance and preparedness for class discussion.
Graduate students: Final essay 30%; final examination 30%; oral reports as assigned 20%;
20% for attendance and preparedness for class discussion.
OFFICE HOURS and Other Information: My office is McIver 124, and my regular office hour will be from 1-2 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays; other times, by appointment. My office phone number (with a message machine) is 334-5650, and my e-mail address is A list of useful sites for the study of modernism and poetry may be found on my page within the English Department website. Critical commentary to accompany the Oxford anthology is at
POLICIES: Students are expected to be familiar with, and to abide by, the University
Honor Code. Late papers are marked down 1/3 grade.