We have much to look forward to in the upcoming semester’s exciting variety of course offerings in poetry across departments!
Joshua D. Fincher
To learn to read Homer with pleasure. Introduction to Homeric dialect, oral poetry, and meter; discussion of literary technique, historical background to the epics, and Homer’s role in the development of Greek thought.
Michael Dickman, Meghan O’Rourke, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Monica Youn
Practice in the original composition of poetry supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Criticism by practicing writers and talented peers encourages the student’s growth as both creator and reader of literature. This class is open to beginning and intermediate students by application.
Marie Howe, Paul Muldoon
Advanced practice in the original composition of poetry for discussion in regularly scheduled workshop meetings. The curriculum allows the student to develop writing skills, provides an introduction to the possibilities of contemporary literature and offers perspective on the places of literature among the liberal arts.
Irena G. Gross
Polish-American poet Czeslaw Milosz won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1980. In this seminar, which combines textual analyses, history of literature and intellectual history, we will speak on the basis of his major works (and some of his contemporaries – Seamus Heaney, Joseph Brodsky, Derek Walcott), about World War II, Polish-Russian relations, global dominance of English-language poetry, growth of high culture in the United States, and the decline of exile. (Wednesday 1:30-4:20 PM)
Intensive study of the “Inferno”, with major attention paid to poetic elements such as structure, allegory, narrative technique, and relation to earlier literature, principally the Latin classics. Course conducted in English with highly interactive classes and preceptorials. One precept in Italian will be scheduled on a need-to-be basis. (Tuesday and Thursday 11:00 AM – 12:20 PM)
All literature is short – compared to our lives, anyway – but we’ll be concentrating on poetry and prose at their very shortest. The reading will include proverbs, aphorisms, greguerias, one-line poems, riddles, jokes, fragments, haiku, epigrams and microlyrics. Imagism, contemporary shortists, prose poems, various longer works assembled from small pieces, and possibly even flash fiction. Students will take away from the thrift and edge of these literary microorganisms a new sense of what can be left out of your work and new ideas about how those nebulae of pre-draft in your notebooks might condense into stars and constellations. (Thursday 1:30-4:20)
Russell J. Leo
We will explore John Milton’s entire career, largely as poet, but also as prose writer and thinker: a lifelong effort to unite the aims of intellectual, political and literary experimentation. In doing so Milton made himself the most influential non-dramatic poet in the English language. We will spend much time with Paradise Lost, regarded by many as the greatest non-dramatic poem in English or any modern language; we will encounter Milton’s profound, extensive learning and his startling innovations with words, and in ideas of personal, domestic and communal liberty. (Monday and Wednesday 10:00-10:50 AM).
This course will concentrate on the role of topography and landscape in the poem. Students will be required to participate in a trip to Italy over Spring Break. (Monday and Wednesday 1:30 PM -2:50 PM)
Stuart J. Sherman
From Attic tragedies to Broadway musicals, verse forms have been central to the way theater works. Playwrights have deployed them to deliver powerful, sometimes subliminal effects to the ears of audiences well-versed in registering them. In plays ranging from Euripides’ Bakkhai through Elizabethan and Restoration theater to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, we’ll look at, and above all listen for, the intricate interactions of verse, prose, and song, trying to work out how they may have operated on their original audiences (whose ears were often in such matters more acute than ours), and how we can make sense of and savor them now. (Tuesday and Thursday 1:30-2:50 PM)
Claudia Joan Brodsky
This course is the continuation of a 2-semester sequence for undergraduates and graduate students, but may be taken independently of the fall semester course (COM 421). We will focus on reading major poets of the modern period in English, French, German and Spanish with additional readings in the theoretical reflections on modernity, poetry, and the arts written by several of the poets we read. These include: Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Rilke, Celan, Garcia Lorca, Pax, Borges, Stevens, Bishop and Ashbery, among others. Secondary readings will include essays by major theorists and critics. (Monday 1:30-4:20 PM)
This course introduces students to the major Arabic poets and poems from the pre-Islamic period up to and including the Mamluk period. The goal of the course is twofold: to increase the ease with which students are able to read classical Arabic poetry and to expand their knowledge of the various styles, genres and their development. Besides preparing the assigned poems, students are expected each week to put together a brief biographical sketch of the poets we are reading using primary sources exclusively. (This could be done collaboratively) Advanced knowledge of Arabic required. (Wednesday 1:30 – 4:20 PM).
This course investigates Modernist poetics in France from mid-19th to mid-20th c. and seeks to re-evaluate Modernism in French literary history. Course will treat the topic at a variety of interrelated levels by exploring French poetry as part of the broad historical phenomenon of Modernism, while examining the specific ways it materialized in France as formal innovation and as response to modernity. Seminal poets such as Baudelaire, Mallarmé, Apollinaire, and Cendrars, will be discussed as well as specific movements. Readings and theoretical questions will also address the complex relationship between avant-garde and Modernism. (In English) (Wednesday 1:30-4:30 PM)
David M. Bellos
A study of 20th century writing in European languages relying to some degree on the principle of constraint or ‘strict form’. Queneau, Calvino, Mathews, Perec, Roubaud and other members of Oulipo will constitute the central focus, but depending on students’ linguistic competences works by e.g., Harig, Kharms, Nabokov, Cortazar may be included. Attention is focussed on underlying principles as well as on practice and product. (Tuesday 1:30-4:20 PM)
Meredith Martin and Meredith McGill
Histories of 19th-C poetry are generally keyed to books and anthologies–breakthrough volumes, collected works, and influential collections. Yet a great deal of this poetry was printed in or supported by the circulation of periodicals, creating dynamic poetic cultures that were provisional, collaborative, and transatlantic. In this course we tackle head-on what the new availability of these resources means for the study of British and American poetry. How might the digitization of magazines, newspapers, and print ephemera change canonical literary histories? (Monday 1:30-4:20 PM)
Michael A. Wachtel
The course serves as an introduction to Russian verse forms and genres. Considerable attention is given to translations into Russian (and conceivably out of Russian) to understand the qualities of Russian poetry that distinguish it from other European verse traditions (English, German, French, Italian). To some extent exemplary texts are chosen in conjunction with students’ linguistic competencies and interests. (Thursday 1:30-4:20 PM).