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Poetry and Ways of Wondering

ENGL 210.301
MW 2-3:30pm

Poetry makes us wise, keeps us young, soothes us, disturbs and riles us. But how does this happen?  How do poets get so much done in a short space while wondering, and helping us wonder, about some of life’s most perplexing questions? How do poems move from utterly unpromising and incomprehensible scratchings (real or virtual) to energetic, efficient finished pieces?

In this course – for which you need no previous experience with poetry – we’ll read poems ranging from Sappho to a few written yesterday, more or less. We’ll spend quite a bit of time on the sonnet, from its birth to recent and astonishing twists on the form. 


This is a hybrid course which means that you’ll be invited to write some poems.  The reading and poem-talk will spawn ideas and, very likely, an interest in trying out some new forms.  If you have not written poetry before, you are still welcome to take this course.  Deep reading is the best way to start writing.


Course requirements:  patience, slow and repeated reading, and a willingness to ask questions and put ideas forward in class.  Writing:  short response papers, poetry exercises and a final paper.

fulfills requirements
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major
Sector 1: Theory and Poetics of the Standard Major
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major