Syllabus: Spring, 2009
A. Required Texts:
- Anthology of Twentieth-Century British and Irish Poetry, ed. Keith Tuma (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001). ISBN: 0-19-512894-X 7
- Strong Words: Modern Poets on Modern Poetry, ed. W.N. Herbert and Matthew Hollis (Northumberland: Bloodaxe Books, 2000). ISBN: 1-85224-515-8
B. Course Requirements:
- A journal [4 units] in which students will be asked to write entries on every text studied. It must be submitted twice, on Tuesday, Mar 3 and Tuesday, Apr 28. Each entry must be written neatly and dated. The journal will be graded on: (a) thoroughness: each entry must show that you have read the text in question, and must be at least one page of double-spaced type; (b) quality of thought and critical engagement with the text; (c) neatness of presentation; (d) promptness: you may be asked to read aloud from your journal in any given class. An incomplete journal will result in failure of the entire course.
- two class presentations of ten minutes each; the written version should be submitted on the day of the presentation. This should comprise a minimum of one page of double-spaced type, written in coherent prose; it should be researched, not relying on the introductions in the textbook or on material downloaded from the internet [1 unit total];
- a final examination [3 units]: Tuesday, May 12, 2:00-5:00;
- class participation (contributing to class discussion; asking and answering questions) counts for 2 units;
- any unexcused absence will lower the student’s grade by one point, e.g. from D to D-.
Anyone missing an assignment, for whatever reason, should see me as soon as possible.
C. Course Description:
An in-depth study of poetic developments in Britain from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Beginning with the first world war poets and Yeats, we will then confront the modernists such as Eliot and Mina Loy, the thirties’ poets including Auden and Macneice, poets of the Second World War such as Dylan Thomas, poets of the 1950s “Movement,” such as Larkin and Gunn, poets of the 1970s such as Ted Hughes, the Irish poets Heaney and Boland, and the ex-colonial writers Grace Nichols and Moniza Alvi. We will place emphasis on the intellectual and social contexts of the work of these writers, as well as the poetic forms they employ.
Weekly Class Assignments:
I. VICTORIANS, PRECURSORS OF MODERNISM, GEORGIANS, AND WAR POETS:
Tue Jan 20: Introduction to twentieth-century and modern poetry.
Thu Jan 22: Thomas Hardy: read all poems and write one page (minimum) analysis of ‘Hap’
Tue Jan 27: Introduction to Prosody: bring one page of research on prosody
Thu Jan 29: Prosody: workshop
Tue Feb 3: Gerard Manley Hopkins: read all poems by Hopkins and write a one-page analysis of ‘God’s Grandeur’ (p. 15)
Thu Feb 5: Siegfried Sassoon: read all poems by Sassoon and write one-page analysis of ‘The Rear-Guard’ (p. 108);
Tue Feb 10: Wilfred Owen: read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘Dulce et Decorum Est’ (p. 203)
Thu Feb 12: W.B. Yeats: Read all poems by Yeats and write one-page analysis of ‘Easter 1916’ (p. 38); ‘Sailing to Byzantium’ (p. 42);
Read: Yeats, ‘A General Introduction for my Work (SW, 26): write one page.
Tue Feb 17: T.S. Eliot: Bring one-page analysis of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock (p. 125)
Read: Eliot, ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’ (SW, 31); write one page.
Thu Feb 19: Eliot, The Waste Land, Part One.
Tue Feb 24: Mina Loy: Read all poems, and write one-page analysis of ‘Der Blinde Junge’(p. 92)
Read “Feminist Manifesto” (Sakai); write one page.
III. ALTERNATIVE TRADITIONS:
Thu Feb 26: Robert Graves: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘The White Goddess’ (p. 231);
Read: Graves, ‘Observations on Poetry’ (SW, 39); write one page.
Tue Mar 3: Basil Bunting: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘To Mina Loy’ (p. 255);
Read: Bunting, ‘The Poet’s Point of View’ (SW, 80); write one page.
IV. THE AUDEN CIRCLE:
Thu Mar 5: W.H. Auden: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of‘’September 1, 1939’ (p. 316);
Read: Auden, The Virgin and the Dynamo (SW, 67). .
Tue Mar 10: Louis Macneice: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘Snow’ (p. 337)
Read: Macneice, ‘A Statement’ (SW, 72); write one page.
Thu Mar 12: Poetry Workshop: Poetic Form
Mar 14-22: SPRING BREAK
V. WORLD WAR II AND THE NEW APOCALYPSE:
Tue Mar 24: Keith Douglas: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘Simplify me when I’m dead’ (p. 434);
Read: Douglas, ‘Poetry is like a Man’ (SW, 113); write one page.
Thu Mar 26: Poetry Workshop: Dr. Joe Barbarese
Tue Mar 31: Dylan Thomas: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘The force
that through the green fuse…’ (p. 384)
Read: Thomas, ‘Notes on the Art of Poetry’ (SW, 115); write one page.
VI. THE ‘MOVEMENT’ POETS AND BEYOND:
Thu Apr 2: Philip Larkin: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘Church Going’ (p. 446);
Read: Larkin, ‘Statement’ (SW, 150); write one page.
Tue Apr 7: Thom Gunn: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘The Unsettled Motorcyclist’s Vision…’ (p. 513)
Read: Gunn, ‘Writing a Poem’ (SW, 143); write one page.
Thu Apr 9: Ted Hughes: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘View of a Pig’ (p. 527);
Read: Hughes, ‘Words and Experience’ (SW, 152); write one page.
Tue Apr 14: Elaine Feinstein: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘Marriage’
Read: Feinstein, ‘A Question of Voice’ (SW, 188); write one page.
VII. IRISH POETS:
Thu Apr 16: Seamus Heaney: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘Bogland’ (p. 657);
Read: Heaney, ‘Craft and Technique’ (SW, 158); write one page.
Tue Apr 21: Eavan Boland: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘Listen. This is the Noise of Myth’ (p. 706);
Read: Boland, ‘The Wrong Way’ (SW, 215); write one page.
Thu Apr 23: Grace Nichols: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of The Fat Black Woman Versus Politics’ (p. 780);
Read: Nichols, ‘The poetry I feel closest to’ (SW, 211); write one page.
Tue Apr 28: Moniza Alvi: Read all poems and write one-page analysis of ‘The Wedding’ (p. 848).
Thu Apr 30: Poetry, Criticism and Ideology.
Tue May 6: Last day of class: students’ choice of subject.
Final Examination: Tuesday, May 12, 2:00-5:00.