Fall 2010 - Graduate Course Descriptions
Description of Course:
This course will have four interwoven strands. The first will be an introduction to the theory of metrical composition, including a discussion of its origins and evolution, its neurophysiology, its history and its cultural and religious context. The second will be a guided apprenticeship in the practice and technique of meter, rhyme, and stanza forms. The third strand will be the close study of a number of poems, both original and in translation. The fourth strand will be an investigation of the concept of the ars poetica, the poet's view of the world and the place of poetry in the world. Special attention will be given to the issues of translation and narrative poetry.
This class is intended for three types of student: those whose inclination is toward literary scholarship and criticism, but who wish to get an insider's sense of the craft of making poetry and its strange pleasures and frustrations; those who feel that they may have a poetic gift and wish to test it by close study, practice, and the judgment of an experienced practitioner and their peers; and those who are already practicing poets, who wish to both hone their skill and renew their inspiration.
By the end of the semester students will be expected to be able to write a technically correct piece of formal verse, to understand what is meant by an ars poetica, and to be able to explain how a poem in the canon achieves its musical effects.
The main texts for the course will be the Norton Anthology of Poetry, Clement Woodâ€™s Rhyming Dictionary and Poetâ€™s Craft Book, and two poetry collections by the instructor.
Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:
Class work will include short written responses to the poems on the syllabus, a series of metrical exercises leading up to the completion of a technically correct sonnet; and a poem of the students' own composition in a form of their choosing. Grades will be based on this work and on contribution to class discussion.