ENGL 205
The Art of Poetry Fall 2009
Division I
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“If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off,” Emily Dickinson wrote, “I know that is poetry.” This course will explore the particular pleasures and excitements of poetry, taking up a wide range of poets–John Donne, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, e.e. cummings, Louise Gl├╝ck, William Butler Yeats, Stephen Dunn, Elizabeth Alexander, Edwin Arlington Robinson, and many others. We will raise such questions as, How exactly is poetry different from prose? Can we ever determine the “true” meaning of any poem? Can we reasonably argue that some poems are good and some are bad? How is our reading of a poem affected by what we know about the author, or the historical moment when the poem was composed, or the shape of the book in which it first appeared? What, finally, can a poem do to us?
The Class: Format: discussion/seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1628
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: two papers (about 5-6 pages each), a number of short exercises, and regular class participation
Prerequisites: a 100-level English course
Enrollment Preferences: first-year students who have placed out of a 100-level English course
Distributions: Division I

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