ENGLISH 292

SURVEY OF POETRY

PROFESSOR JOHN RICKARD

FALL 2004

 

 

From the Bucknell Course Guide:

Poetry is all around us -- in religious texts and ceremonies, in popular song, in lovers' talk -- and yet many people claim that "Poetry" (by which they mean academic poetry or traditional literary poetry) is difficult, intimidating, and too far removed from everyday life. In this course, we will try to define poetry in a wide sense, to discover what the everyday "poetry" we are all familiar with (from greeting cards to rap to advertising jingles) has in common with works of poetic art such as Shakespeare?s sonnets or "The Waste Land," and we will try to make these works of art more familiar and more pleasurable. The course will "survey" English and American poetry from the beginnings to the present.

We will look at poetry in historical context, beginning with medieval English verse and continuing our studies to the present day. We will read primarily in the poetic literature of the British Isles and America, familiarizing ourselves with some of the most admired and influential poets in these traditions. We will examine the ways in which poets such as John Donne, Emily Dickinson, and W. B. Yeats (and many others) partake of the same traditions and also how they differ and develop their own unique styles and concerns. We will learn about various genres of poetry -- including epics, songs, and sonnets -- and explore the traditional formal elements of poetry, including rhyme and meter; we will also study innovations and departures from these traditional foundations.

This class will be discussion-based, but the instructor will lecture when necessary to provide relevant historical, cultural, political, or technical information. Students will recite verse from memory, analyze and scan poems, and write a longer essay on thematic and formal topics. Mid-term and final examinations will require students to demonstrate their knowledge of poetic techniques and traditions.

 

Course Syllabus

GENERAL RESOURCES:

Bucknell Poetry Center:

The Poetry Society of America: http://www.poetrysociety.org/

Project Bartleby.  A comprehensive source for quotations, electronic texts, literary history, and much more:http://www.bartleby.com/

Representative Poetry Online.  An extensive poetry archive, including British and American authors, texts of poems, and some criticism on individual poems:
http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display/

Modern American Poetry, by Cary Nelson.  Web pages on 161 modern and contemporary American poets: http://www.english.uiuc.edu/maps/poets.htm

American Authors -- a comprehensive listing of American writers, with links to other web sites on each author, by Donna M. Campbell: http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/aufram.html

LION (Literature Online). A comprehensive source, including "a fully searchable library of more than 350,000 works of English and American poetry, drama and prose, 136 full-text literature journals, and other key criticism and reference resources": http://lion.chadwyck.com/

 

POETIC TERMS:

Glossary of Poetic Terms, by Ian Lancashire, Department of English, University of Toronto.  A little dense but very thorough.  Includes links to examples for many terms: http://rpo.library.utoronto.ca/display_rpo/poetterm.cfm

Poetic Terms, by Al Filreis at Penn: http://www.writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/88/poetic-terms.html

 

 

POETIC LANGUAGE, METER, AND FORM:

An easy-to-view and basic slide show on "Metrics," by Sam Schuman: http://www.mrs.umn.edu/cs/metrics/sld001.htm

"Introduction to Meter," by Timothy Steele, English Department, California State University, Los Angeles: http://instructional1.calstatela.edu/tsteele/TSpage5/meter.html

Timothy Steele's Introduction to "Rhyme and Stanza": http://instructional1.calstatela.edu/tsteele/TSpage5/rands.html

A PowerPoint presentation on Poetic Meter by Dr. Linda Lovell: http://faculty.nwacc.edu/ljlovell/Powerpoints/meternew.ppt

A PowerPoint presentation on Figurative Language by Dr. Linda Lovell: http://faculty.nwacc.edu/ljlovell/Powerpoints/figurativenew.ppt

A table of stanza forms, with numerous examples, by H. T. Kirby-Smith: http://www.uncg.edu/~htkirbys/stanzas.htm

A table of poetic meters, with numerous examples, by H. T. Kirby-Smith: http://www.uncg.edu/~htkirbys/meters.htm

An "Introduction to Sound and Meter" from the Online Writing Lab at Purdue University: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/handouts/general/gl_soundmeter.html

Barbara Mathieson's "Scanning Poetry: A Self-Study Unit": http://www.sou.edu/english/Mathiesn/Scansion/

Jack Lynch's "Glossary of Literary and Rhetorical Terms": http://andromeda.rutgers.edu/~jlynch/Terms/

Linda Lovell's Power Point Presentation "Scanning A Poem": http://faculty.nwacc.edu/ljlovell/Powerpoints/meternew.ppt

Timothy Steele's "Introduction to Meter": http://instructional1.calstatela.edu/tsteele/TSpage5/meter.html

 

LITERARY HISTORY:

A Time-Line of English Poetry 658-2003.  Time-line of English and American poetry with entries on individual authors, including representative poems and biographical information: http://eir.library.utoronto.ca/rpo/display_rpo/timeline.cfm

A good, basic timeline of British and American poetry:
http://www.galegroup.com/free_resources/poets/timeline/

Brief Timeline of American Literature and Events 1620-1920, by Donna M. Campbell: http://guweb2.gonzaga.edu/faculty/campbell/enl311/timefram.html

Literary History.  An index of literary links by author: http://www.literaryhistory.com/

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature.  An old (1907-1921) and very traditional, but comprehensive, literary history: http://www.bartleby.com/cambridge/chapterindex.html

 

GENERAL HISTORY:

"Timeline of British History." From Britannia.com:
http://www.britannia.com/history/time1.html

BBC English History Timeline: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/timelines/england/neo_migration_settlement.shtml

Political & Economic History of Great Britain from the Civil War to the Twentieth Century (with an Emphasis on the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries).  A timeline by Glenn Everett: http://www.victorianweb.org/history/historytl.html