An Introduction to Poetry edited by X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia
MACNOLIA by A. Van Jordan
Other required readings TBA on Blackboard.com
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course helps you examine the art of poetry. You will study the making of a poem, the poetic structures, and learn vital poetic terms. We will cursorily track movements and tropes in poetry as each poem demands. You will also learn and practice to write a paper that examines a poem closely. LEARNING GOALS: 1) identify and understand various characteristics of poetry, 2) apply techniques of literary analysis to poems, 3) use literary study to develop skills for careful reading and clear writing, 4) demonstrate understanding of the aesthetic and historical contexts in which various poetical texts have been written, 5) read and discuss poetry on the levels of both form and content.
ATTENDANCE: Attendance is mandatory and will be taken every class meeting. After three absences, your grade goes down 3 points off your final grade average for each missed day. After 6 absences, you fail the course. Your presence is required for class discussion and group work. In extenuating circumstances, such as severe illness and family responsibilities, this policy may be reconsidered. Absence is no excuse for late assignments or for being unprepared for the next class meeting. If you are absent, find out what you missed from a classmate or teacher.
Two lates = one absence. Two left earlies = one absence. Unprepared for class = absence.
WRITING EXERCISES: As part of learning poetic terms and strategies, you will be asked to write in certain poetic styles, as well as examine poems on your own as you read. Some of these tasks will be more creative and some of the tasks will be more academic. Both types of exercises are designed to help you learn and remember poetic terms you will need to be familiar with in order to write essays. In the beginning, you’ll be given questions to answer about poems but later in the semester you will also be required to develop your own questions about poems and answer those questions, taking upon a more independent examination. These exercises will be collected three times through the semester and should be typed.
QUIZZES: You will have three quizzes on poetic terms through the semester to ensure you are able to write a paper that uses the terms you need to know.
In addition to your weekly writing and readings, you will write two major essays of approximately 3-5 pages in length, with a required revision of one after conferencing with your instructor, and an optional revision of the other. You will have a take-home final of two essay questions, approximately 2 pages in length each. You will also be asked to memorize a poem and recite it for the class.
LATENESS POLICY: All assignments are due at the beginning of class on their due dates. If you are absent the day an assignment is due, you are still responsible for turning it in. If you know you will be absent in advance, you should turn your assignments in early. If you have unforeseeable troubles with printing or whatnot, you may put an assignment in my mailbox on its due date by 5pm without penalty, but I must also be informed of this. I do not accept papers via email. Your grade for an essay will drop a full letter grade for each day it is late. Late one day = B, two days = C, three days = D, four days = F (Weekends count). Late “writing exercises” will also bring down your grade.
Loophole: You may be granted an extension on essays to turn in your essay a few days late if, for example, you have several midterms in other classes due at the same time, or some other sticky predicament. But, an extension must be asked for in advance, not the day before an essay is due.
CONFERENCES: You will be required to meet with me at least two times during the semester to discuss your essays. At this time classes will be cancelled so we can focus on your work and your individual writing. If you wish, you may schedule a meeting with me at any time during the semester to discuss your work. Missing a scheduled conference is equivalent to one absence. Missing a scheduled conference is also discourteous to your instructor’s time.
ACADEMIC INTEGRITY POLICY: Students are expected to abide by the terms of the student code of academic conduct, available in your undergraduate bulletin or online at http://studentconduct.uncg.edu. I urge you all to examine this material, and consult me with any questions you may have about plagiarism and academic integrity before it becomes an issue. Ignorance of what constitutes plagiarism is not an acceptable excuse for plagiarism. Understand that academic dishonesty of any kind will not be tolerated and can result in a failing grade, and may result in expulsion from UNCG.
RESPECT: This classroom is a learning environment. You will all be doing a lot of group work and discussing your opinions with the class. As such, it is critical that we treat each other with the appropriate level of courtesy and respect. No one should be made to feel unwelcome here. Failure to treat other students with the respect they deserve will severely negatively impact your class participation grade, and severe disruptiveness can result in being dropped from the course.
20% CLASS PARTICIPATION: Group Work, Discussion, Preparedness, Poem Recitation.
20% WRITING EXERCISES, QUIZZES: Completed with effort, on time
20% 1ST ESSAY
20% 2ND ESSAY
20% TAKE-HOME FINAL
ESSAY GRADING STANDARDS:
6 This is an extraordinary piece of writing and excellent poetic analysis. It forwards an excellent thesis that is supported throughout the essay. It is structurally sound, with clear and apt transitions between paragraphs. The essay has “movement” toward its stated purpose, and is appropriate in language and style for its audience. The writing is clear and controlled, and the language is often sharp, and effective. The analysis is original, forceful, and compelling, and provides an excellent close reading of a poem. It is wholly free of spelling, typographic, and/or other grammatical errors. = A+
5 This is also an excellent piece of writing and excellent poetic analysis. It clearly forwards a thesis that is completely supported throughout the essay. The structure is solid and the transitions are sound. The language is sharp. The paper is clear, focused, and almost entirely free of spelling, typographic, and/or grammatical errors. It is separated from the 6 essay by a relative dearth of originality, but also provides a good close reading of the poem. = A
4 This is a very good essay and a very good poetic analysis. It is based on a solid thesis that is mostly supported throughout the essay. It may show some weakness in flow or lack of transitions. It typically contains certain shortcomings, notably routine errors, occasional monotony in expression, lack of originality, ambiguity in purpose, or some lack of precision and economy in use of words. Its weaknesses, however, do not get in the way of the paper’s meaning. = B
3 This is an average essay and an average poetic analysis. It’s considered acceptable college work. It meets the requirements of the assignment, but does not go beyond the assignment in any way. There is likely a thesis, but it is either far too broad or narrow, or merely not supported throughout the essay. There are likely transitional flaws. Language is likely okay, but flawed with awkwardness and/or imprecision. Most likely there are spelling, typographic, and/or grammatical errors, but not so much as to hinder a normal reader from getting the point of the essay. There is nothing outstanding, compelling, original, or thought provoking in the analysis. It lacks originality, significant purpose, or point of view. = C
2 The essay is a below average piece of writing. It falls below acceptable college standards. It may partially address the assignment, but it surely lacks any expected insight as to the goal of the poetic analysis. Frequently, its writer has not understood the assignment and therefore does not address or respond to a definite purpose. It may express a thesis, but it is likely inappropriately sized for the assignment. Paragraphs exist on their own without adequate movement. The language of the essay is flawed. Sentences are poorly constructed and spelling, typographic and/or grammatical errors appear frequently. It likely contains some of these flaws: monotonous sentence patterns, imprecise use of words, rambling organization, and repetition of ideas. = D
0-1 This essay is an unacceptable piece of writing. It has a rich variety of flaws. It may have no thesis or support. There may be flaws of organization and development. It likely includes an unacceptable number of spelling, typographic, and/or grammatical errors. The essay shows no real understanding of the assignment. An essay that receives a failing grade does not automatically mean a failing grade in the course. It does mean, however, that performance on the particular assignment is markedly below college standards and that prompt improvement does need to be made. = F
TENTATIVE WEEKLY SCHEDULE: All page numbers refer to An Introduction to Poetry
WA= Writing Assignment
Week 1: Aug. 16, 18
Intro to course/Narrative, Lyric, Dramatic Poetry
“ Reading a Poem” pp. 5-9
Read poems on pp. 448, 453, 487, 490, 534, 551, 564
Read: “Theories of Poetry” from Blackboard
WA: Paraphrase a poem
Terms: Line, Stanza, Speaker, Narrative, Lyric, Dramatic
Week 2: Aug. 23, 25 Theories of Poetry; Tone
Chapter 2: pp. 30, 34-38, 42
WA: Pick a poem; explain aesthetic theory HW Thurs:
Chapter 3: pp. 53-55, 58, 60-67
Chapter 4: pp 80-81, p. 92
WA: Rewrite a poem’s tone
Terms: Mimetic, Expressive, Didactic, Objective, Ars Poetica, Tone, Irony (verbal, dramatic, tragic, and cosmic)
Week 3: Aug. 30, Sept. 1
Words and Images
Chapter 5: pp 94-111; skim poems
WA: Choose a poem in Chapter 5; what images strike you? Why? HW Thurs:
Chapter 6: pp 121-125; 128-132, 139
WA: Examine poem images: expressive or mimetic?
Terms: Diction, Concrete, Abstract, Allusion, Dialect, Connotation, Imagery,
Imagism, Haiku, Syllabics
Tuesday, Sept. 6 NO CLASS—Extended Labor Day
Week 4: Sept. 8
Figures of Speech
All Writing Assignments collected (5 total)
WA: p 125 A Likening Poem
Chapter 8:165-182 (skim poems)
Terms: Metaphor, Simile, Implied Metaphor, Mixed Metaphor, Personification,
Apostrophe, Hyperbole, Pun
Week 5: Sept. 13, 15 Sound and Rhythm
Writing about Literature
First essay assigned!
Chapter 9: 188-190, 192-193, 196-203
WA: Rhymes HW Thurs:
Chapter 10: 212 -224; 229-233 WA: Blank Verse
Terms: Assonance, Alliteration, Rhyme (exact, off, slant, internal end, masculine,
feminine), Consonance, New Formalists, rhythm, stress, meter, iambic, caesura,
end-stopped, enjambment, scansion, foot, iamb, anapest, trochee, dactyl, pyrric,
spondee, amphibrach, accentual-syllabic
Week 6: Sept. 20, 22
Meter, Form, and Open Verse
Chapter 11: 237-243; 250
WA: Acrostic HW Thurs:
Finish Essay #1 first draft
Terms: epic, blank verse, couplet, tercet, terza rima, quatrain, syllabics, acrostic, found poem, English/Shakespearan sonnet, Italian/Petrarchan Sonnet, octave, sestet, limerick, clerihew, villanelle, triolet, sestina, free verse, prose poem, shape poem (aka visual poetry)
Week 7: Sept. 27, 29
Form and Open Verse Cont’d
1st Draft Essay #1 Due Monday
Readings: TBA on Blackboard.com NO CLASS Thursday CONFERENCE WEEK —
Week 8: Oct. 4, 6
NO CLASS Tuesday CONFERENCE WEEK cont’d —
WA: Cut Prose Poem in lines. Examine difference.
Fall Break No Class on Tuesday
Schedule of readings and writing assignments for second half of semester:
2nd Draft Essay #1 Due Oct. 13
Essay #2 assigned Oct 18; Due Nov. 17
Poem Memorizations Due: Nov. 29, Dec. 1
Take-Home Final Assigned Nov. 17; Due: Dec. 5th