T/Th 2:00-3:15 Graham 310
Office: McIver 201
Office Phone: 336-334-4696
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday 3:30-4:30, and by appointment
Komunyakaa, Yusef, ed., The Best American Poetry 2003
Oliver, Mary, A Poetry Handbook
This is a workshop-based course designed to continue your study of the craft of writing poems. During the semester, you will push the craft that you learned in the introductory course into new ground, generating new ideas, and developing your skills in both traditional and open forms of poetry. You will, of course, continue to read and critique each other’s work.
You will be expected to turn in approximately one poem every week. ALL VERSIONS
OF POEMS AND OTHER ASSIGNMENTS presented to me and to the class must be TYPED,
with your name clearly legible in the top right-hand corner. (Please proofread
your work before turning it in; typos and spelling and grammatical errors are
distracting and take up your poems’ workshop time.) At the end of the
term, you will collect all of your poems (first and revised drafts) into a
We will be reading individual poems from The Best American Poetry 2003, and I will also bring in handouts. These are meant to offer you a variety of styles, approaches, techniques, and perspectives, and to provide a fertile background for your thinking and writing—they are for your benefit and delight. I have also assigned chapters from Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook. In addition, I will put books on reserve in the library for suggested reading.
LEADING CLASS DISCUSSION
You will pair up with two other students to lead a 20-25 minute discussion of the work of an individual poet (this poet may or may not be included in the anthology).
This consists of a folder with typed loose entries (folders with pockets or
binders work best) arranged in chronological order, with the most recent on
top. Unless otherwise noted, you will write journal entries in response to
the work assigned from the anthology. Journal entries consist of a stanza (or
more) in imitation of or influenced by one poet’s work, and a few sentences
about the process. Your journal entry should also consist of a few lines on
the technical aspects of the poem chosen. When TWO poets are assigned, you
may write a response to only one; however, do note why you chose one over the
other. On the same page, answer the following questions:
1) What was a defining characteristic of this poet’s work?
2) How did you incorporate into or how did it influence your lines?
3) What was the most difficult thing about imitating or responding to this poet?
I will take these up, unannounced; your keeping up with them is an important part of your grade.
On the day a poem is due, you will bring to class enough copies for the class. We will make packets for workshop. Poems will be workshopped in the order they are arranged in the packet, with 10 during the first week, 10 during the second week. However, you should be prepared to discuss the first 10 poems in the packet, in case there is an unexpected absence. We will spend from 10-15 minutes on each poem, and it will take us approximately four periods of 1 hour to workshop the entire class. Some days we will workshop as a large group and some days we will divide our class in half or in groups of five students.
Before the workshop, read over each poem at least twice, and make comments on the poems themselves for discussion and for the writer of the poem to see. After each workshop, the drafts with comments will be handed back to the writer for their use. Keep all of your copies of drafts with comments: you will turn in two original drafts with comments attached to two of your final drafts and include in your portfolio.
As is traditional for poetry workshops, during the workshopping of your poem
you will not take part in the discussion. At the end of the discussion, you
will have 2-3 minutes to answer any questions or to ask us questions that we
have not addressed.
ATTENDANCE AND CLASS PARTICIPATION
A good workshop depends on all of its participants. Missing more than 10 minutes of any class will count as an absence, and frequent tardiness will affect your participation grade. You are allowed two absences. I will not excuse you for work due on a day you are absent; it is your responsibility to retrieve the assignment from another student and to turn in any work as soon as you are able. Please, no ringing cell phones, pagers, beepers, watches, etc., during class.
We are very fortunate to have many readings at UNCG by accomplished writers. I will announce readings as they come up. Your attendance is encouraged. Write a few sentences in response to each reading you attend for your journal.
Participation in workshop and class discussion: 25%
Written assignments (poems, journals, any other assignments): 25%
Effort put into your own poems: 25%
Final Portfolio: 25%
Subject to change
AUG 8/17 Introductions, syllabus, discussion of course.
8/19 Reading: Ted Kooser, Richard Wilbur
8/24 Reading: Wendell Berry, James Galvin
8/26 Poem 1 Due
8/31 Reading: Louise Glück, Bruce Smith
SEPT 9/2 Poem 2 Due
9/7 Reading: Edward Hirsch, Natasha Trethewey
9/9 Poem 3 Due
9/14 Reading: Robert Wrigley, C.K.Williams
9/16 Poem 4 Due
9/21 Reading: Maura Stanton, Philip Levine
9/23 Poem 5 Due
9/28 Reading: Kenneth Koch, Michael S. Harper
OCT 10/5 Reading: George Higgins, Jennifer L. Knox
10/7 Poem 7 Due
10/14 Readings: Carolyn Kizer, Paul Muldoon
10/19 Reading: Rita Dove, Stuart Dybek
10/21 Poem 8 Due
10/26 Reading: Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Stephen Dunn
10/28 Poem 9 Due
NOV 11/2 Reading: James Tate, Anna Ziegler
11/4 Poem 10 Due
11/9 Reading: Susan Wheeler, David Wojahn
11/16 Reading: Frank Bidart, Alan Sapiro
11/23 Revision Workshop
11/30 Revision Workshop
12/2 Portfolio Due