ENGL243 - Introduction to Poetry

This course will introduce students to the way poetry works. The class will be primarily discussion, with a "mini-lecture" in the middle, and a hands-on workshop at the end of most classes. For example, in small-group workshops we will write a sonnet using as many sonnet conventions as possible, co-author a poem imitating a poet's form, and try to create a poetic translation from a literal one. We will focus on learning to analyze style, rhythm, voice, structure, genre, and interpretation from biographical and historical context. We will consider a great variety of poetic forms, from sonnet and ballad to epic and free verse, and we will read one long poem--The Odyssey (in Robert Fagles' translation). We will sample many traditions--European, canonical American, African American, Chinese, and Japanese, among others--as well as poems by both men and women. We will have a practicing poet visit class, and we will spend one day on song lyrics as poetry--student choices. Requirements will include class participation, midterm and final examinations, two short papers with one optional revision, and some short written assignments on library research.