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Postwar American Poetry

ENGL 288.401
crosslisted as: COML 288
TR 3-4:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

English 288 in an introduction to postwar American poetry (1945-1975) – the Beats, San Francisco Renaissance, Black Mountain, Confessional, Black Arts, Chance, Talk, Performance, & New York School: poetry on and off the page, near and at the edge. Extensive use will be made of sound files of the poets readings their poems. Several sessions will be devoted to class discussion with visiting poets. English 288 is a discussion-based course, with much supplemental material available on our website. The course requirements consist of a weekly journal response to the readings and a creative/interactive experiment on one or more of the assigned poems (such as imitating, rewriting, performing, or reordering the poem). No previous experience with poetry required. Permission of the instructor is required: email with a brief note about why you are interested in the course.

This "reading workshop" is less concerned with analysis or explanation of individual poems than with finding ways to intensify the experience of poetry, of the poetic, through a consideration of how the different styles and structures and forms of contemporary poetry can affect the way we see and understand the world.

The syllabus details assigned readings for each session, focused in a way that makes the overall reading manageable. If multiple poets are assigned for a single meeting, the syllabus will suggests that you focus on one or two poems for each of the poets. Note , though, that much of the syllabus provides extensive information for further, entirely optional, readings and research. Finally the syllabus provides a set of questions for each set of readings: keep in mind these are only suggestions for your responses, not questions you are required to answer.

The readings for this workshop are extensive and cannot all be discussed in class. The concept is for you to saturate yourself in 20th-century American poetry.

The syllabus remains in formation throughout the period of the class, in response to changing conditions.. Please be sure to check here for updates and changes.

More information, and syllabus, at