The ‘P-Word’: Reclaiming Poetry

Our course has several aims: primarily, to increase the ways you can become more engaged and curious readers of poetry; to increase your confidence as writers thinking about literary texts; and to provide you with the language for literary description. The course is not designed as a historical survey course but rather as an introductory approach to poetry from various directions – as public or private utterances; as arranged imaginative shapes; and as imaginative worlds, for example.
This course will suggest poetry offers intellectual, moral and linguistic pleasures as well as operating in the public sphere as an instrument of change and persuasion. Expect to hear and read poems aloud and to memorize lines; the class format will be group discussion, occasional lecture.
Fall in love with poetry. But remember, as Audre Lord exhorts us to do, that “poetry is not a luxury” – it is a powerful and critical tool and it’s time to learn our way around it.

This course is designed to meet the following objectives:

  • To surprise students with the vital, powerful impact of poetic form, language, and practice – that is, to take back the “p-word.”
  • Students will be able to demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of the formal techniques of poetry in various forms;
  • Students will develop an understanding of the historical development of poetic technique and genres
  • Students will also develop facility with the language of poetry criticism, such that they may continue to engage with this literary field throughout their studies.
  • Texts include:
    Meyer, Michael, Poetry: An Introduction,
    Paul Fussell, Poetic Meter & Poetic Form.
    The Oxford English Dictionary
    Joy Harjo’s A Map To the Next World
    Audre Lorde’s The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance: Collected Poems
    Various, The Oulipo Compendium
    Vendler, Helen. Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology.

    Assignments Include:
    Paraphrase, Scansion and Sound analysis, Imagery and Form analysis, Criticism Review, Poetry Out Loud recitation, Blog report on a poetry reading, Final analytic paper.

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