Topics in Literature: Poetry and Poetics, Past and Present
Margaret Atwood, David Slavitt, Amy Clampit, Mark Halliday, Sharon Olds, C. K. Williams. Who are these people? They are, collectively, "the voice that is great within us," the poets of our own time. In this course we shall read and discuss a generous sampling of recent work by these and other poets of the present. We shall also look at works representative of the tradition out of which they have emerged, Shakespeare, Keats, Dickinson, Frost and a few others. We shall read some theories of poetry, most of them by poets. And we shall devote considerable attention to poetic forms from the limerick to the sestina. Be prepared to do quite a lot of writing. Assignments will include short responses to individual poems and a longer essay on one of the contemporary poets you find expecially interesting. You will also be asked to write some verse, including some exercises in traditional forms and an imitation or parody of one of the poets we read together.