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Poetry and Poetics

ENGL 069.001
instructor(s):
fulfills requirements:
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 5: 19th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major

Tracing the development of poetic theory and practice from antiquity to the 21st Century, this course will investigate what Plato calls the “quarrel between philosophy and poetry.”  We will examine how, throughout literary history, poetic form has embodied or resisted personal and political content.  We will read statements from poetry’s detractors as well from those whose poetics are tantamount to an ethical or religious calling.  This vast history of poetic philosophy will bring us to the present moment, in which poets continue to reinvigorate older verse structures, even as they create new and radical poetic languages.  From the ancients, to the Romantics, to the avant-garde, to the Harlem Renaissance, to L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E and digital poetry, we will investigate such poet-philosophers as Aristotle, Shakespeare, Pope, Wordsworth, Keats, Rosetti, Dickinson, Rimbaud, Eliot, Stein, Tolson, O’Hara, Scalapino, and Bök.  Course requirements will likely include a mid-term and final exam, two papers, and occasional written responses.