COMP 335
Two American Poets: Wallace Stevens and John Ashbery
Last Offered Spring 2016
Division II Writing Skills
Cross-listed COMP 335 / ENGL 320 / AMST 336
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

This tutorial focuses on the work of two major American poets who are known for their “difficult” poetry. In some respects, Stevens (1879-1955) and Ashbery (b. 1927) book-end twentieth-century poetry: Stevens is a major Modernist poet, perhaps the most philosophically oriented American poet of the twentieth century, and Ashbery is considered by most critics to be the most important American poet alive. Students will do close readings of their poems (and one play, “Three Travelers Watch a Sunrise”, by Stevens), as well as read their writing on poetry and art. We will discuss the overlaps between Stevens’ and Ashbery’s work and lives–their having grown up in the Northeast and attended Harvard, what some see as the abstractness of their writing, their mastery of tone, among others–but also the differences: Ashbery’s sexuality, his having lived in France, the supposedly more “avant-garde” nature of Ashbery’s work, and so on. Along the way, we will ask questions about the nature of poetic difficulty, of abstraction, of the (lyric) poetic speaker in their works, of poetic tone, of the link between the poem and the world (e.g., in description), of the thinking and philosophizing that poems do. We will also ask about their links to major poetry “movements” (Modernism, the New York School) and pose questions that are rarely asked about their poetry, such as “What are the politics, implicit and explicit, in their poems?” “What are their views about the United States and American society and culture?” “What assumptions about race, gender and class are embedded in their poetry?” And, always, we will be paying close attention to the question of form and language in Stevens’ and Ashbery’s poetry.
The Class: Format: tutorial
Limit: 10
Expected: 10
Class#: 3890
Grading: no pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: typical tutorial format; papers every other week
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis; not available for the fifth course option
Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preferences: ENGL majors, COMP majors, AMST majors; preference will be given to students who have already taken at least one literature class
Distributions: Division II Writing Skills
Notes: meets Division 2 requirement if registration is under AMST; meets Division 1 requirement if registration is under ENGL or COMP
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 335 Division II ENGL 320 Division II AMST 336 Division II
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives

Class Grid

Updated 7:31 pm

Course Catalog Search


(searches Title and Course Description only)
TERM




SUBJECT
DIVISION



DISTRIBUTION



ENROLLMENT LIMIT
COURSE TYPE
Start Time
End Time
Day(s)