Class Outline/Objectives (verbose)
This class is going to be a complex one. It has to be – in poetry we’re talking about language and communication, right? And with those two concepts comes everything we know to be true, real, and important in our lives. Because Language and Reality are pretty much inseparable, it is vital that we treat them with respect. This course is designed so we can all learn to do just that: respect and use language, in all of its forms, to all of its potential. (what good poems do)
To that extent, this course is constructed in a way similar to language. That is, it’s a system of small units that will (hopefully) lead from one to the next, creating larger meaning. (similar to how letters make words, words form sentences, etc.) Nevertheless, this course, despite being built on a system, is extremely flexible. This syllabus represents a contract for the course, but only as the course exists today. If, in a couple of weeks, it turns out we need to switch directions/tactics/topics, we can and will. It’s your job, as a student, to help initiate changes if needed and to be ready to adapt with a shifting class. Be aware, too, that the abilities to change and adapt are some of the finest assets any language can have.
Class Outline/Objectives (quick and simple)
You will learn to read, recognize, and understand basic concepts in poetry. These include, but are not limited to, form, figures of speech, rhythm and meter, tropes, images, symbols, themes and traditions. We’ll learn where poems come from, how they are shaped, and what good they do us afterwards.
Learning Goals : To achieve a broad understanding of world poetry, from its
to its postmodern relevance in a society that has stopped believing it even exists. To achieve a foundational vocabulary of skills and attitudes, helpful in all manner of linguistic, artistic, and humane forms of discourse.
Poetry: An Introduction. The Text edited by X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. An overripe anthology of poems covering a number of traditions and issues. Very nice. I hope you don’t sell it back.
Some sort of dictionary of the English language. Get whatever you want, but keep in mind you want to bring it to class every single day. Electronic dictionaries not allowed, unless special circumstances require you to use one.
Triggering Town. Richard Hugo’s book of essays on writing, poetry, teaching, and other things.
Above the River. James Wright’s Collected Poems
Personal Portfolio. Any kind of folder you can keep copies of your work and poems. Please also note that all work, unless otherwise specified, is to be turned in typed/computer formatted. It is your responsibility to SAVE all work. Do not turn in the only copies of your poems.
Participation – 60% of Grade.
Being in class is a big deal. The class sessions are built around discussion and group work- stuff that is impossible to make up outside of class or after the fact. Participation includes being in class, being prepared, engaging in the class discussions, attempting all writing assignments, turning in all work on time, and doing each of these things in a respectful and professional manner. If you feel like you will have a problem with any of these charges, especially deadlines or attendance, talk to me in person BEFORE it becomes an issue.
Attendance (40% of total grade)– You may miss a class here and there.
This is not ideal, but we all know it happens. Three absences are free. Any
more, and your grade WILL be negatively affected: one whole letter grade per
absence. If you miss six classes, you fail the course. (EXTRA CREDIT = Bring
in your voter registration card, and promise to vote this November, and you
get an extra free absence. Six is still the limit to pass, however.)
If you miss a class, be sure to find out what work you missed and if you can make it up. (probably can’t) This is your responsibility.
Quizzes – (20% of total grade)- Every now and again there will be “pop” quizzes. 10 in all. Usually two simple questions (one point each) regarding whatever reading was assigned.
Papers and Presentation– 30% of grade.
Poems and Short Paper: (15%) Information parceled out later. Just know you’ll be writing poems regularly, and every so often self-critique/analyzing them.
End of Term paper (15%) – “Final” exam consists of a personal
reflection and aesthetic examination of your own opinions of poetry and your
relationship to it. All I’ll add now is that it’s going to be around
six pages long.
Mid Term Test – (10%) – There will be a midterm that covers much of the terminology and forms we’ve learned up until then. Probably like 50 questions of various types, all equally esoteric difficult, and obscure. But we’ll review plenty.
Disability Disclaimer – if you have any disability or special learning requirements that I should take into consideration, please speak with me as soon as possible so I might make any adjustments necessary to give you an optimal learning experience.