Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Poetry and Poetics

ENGL 111.302
T 1:30-4:30
fulfills requirements:
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major
Creative Writing Seminar Requirement of the Creative Writing Track

Many of us are motivated to write poetry, but do we know where the motivation comes from? How do our poems "come through the page" in the ways that they do? Often we are interested in exploring our ideas through poetry but rarely do we get the opportunity to seriously consider what our poems say about our philosophical ideas, our abstract notions and our secret desires. These motivations not only manifest themselves in the words we choose and the topics we work with but in the nuts and bolts of how we place words on the page. 

In this course we will consider ways in which philosophical ideas construct poetic form and content. During the semester we will explore each student's conceptual underpinnings and how these sensibilities can form the basis for unique poetic voices and/or the development of a new voice. The course requirements will include creative *and* analytical writing to get to the heart of what we write, how we write and why we write. We will look at some of the relationships between speech act theory, the popularity of "spoken word" as an outlet for poetic performance, confessional poetry, some experimental poetry movements, and your own perspectives about how poetry intersects with your personal philosophy.

Students who wish to take the course should send a brief description of their interest, including any relevant background or experience, to Tracie Morris

For more information on Tracie Morris and this special course, please go to