ENGLISH 326 INTERMEDIATE POETRY WRITING
130 McIver Building
This is an intensive course in the structures and strategies of poetry writing. Classes will be conducted in a workshop format, although some sessions may be wholly devoted to a discussion of a particular poet, writing exercise, or issue in poetics. As a responsive member of the class, you must come to workshop having read and read aloud numerous times the poems up for consideration. You must be fully prepared to offer your critiques, remembering that criticism begins with close observation and addresses both the positive and negative aspects of a work of art. For obvious reasons, attendance in this course is mandatory; if you miss more than three sessions during the term, you may receive a failing grade.
The requirements are as follows. You will turn in one poem each week of the semester. These poems may be new work, exercises, or revisions of poems already discussed in class or during one of our conferences. You must set aside writing time every day: make it possible for your poems to happen. You must also keep weekly journal entries of your readings in contemporary poetry. These entries should be treated as informal essays written in response to a particular poem or poet. Additionally, each student will prepare and deliver an oral presentation upon the work of a particular poet. All writings submitted to this class must be typed. At the end of the semester, you will assemble a portfolio of your best poems.Your grade will be based upon the quality of your writing, the improvement of your poems, the journal entries, the presentation, and your class participation.
The text for the class is Contemporary American Poetry edited by A. Poulin Jr. You might also purchase the books by the authors who will be visiting campus this semester and giving readings of their work (see forthcoming schedule). You will be expected to attend these readings. I strongly recommend that you spend as much time as you can exploring the poetry section of Jackson Library and reading the literary journals that contain contemporary poems. You can expect that I will supplement the texts with poems by American and international poets.
This rigorous course requires the full commitment of all participants. As your teacher, I can provide you with poems for study, exercises of form and perception, individual conferences, and an atmosphere in which we can exchange criticism and enthusiasm. Your real success, however, is dependent upon your willingness to mine that part of yourself that, as Rainer Maria Rilker wrote, bids you to write poetry.
Goals: An understanding of the historical and aesthetic concerns underlying poetry. The ability to write analytically on poets and poetry.