This course will seek to introduce students to reading and understanding poetry in the English language. We will try to develop habits of close and intense attention to those features of poetic language that set poems apart from other forms of expressiveness. Reading a wide selection of poems from British, American and other literatures in English from Shakespeare's time to the present day, we will consider the basic building blocks of poetry: meter, diction, form and structure, tone and voice. We'll also pay some attention to the history of poetic expression in English, to the shifts in style and poetic techniques, and to changing notions of the poet and the importance of poetry as we move from the sixteenth to the end of the twentieth century.
Three short (3-4 pages) analytical papers will be assigned, along with a final exam.