Course Description: Introduction to Poetry introduces students to the nature and function of poetry's fundamental components (image, sound, interplay of concepts). The course defines and demonstrates these components through the study of poems. It also provides practice in formal and thematic analysis. Students should expect to write at least one analytic paper dealing with these components of the works assigned. This course satisfies general education requirements. This particular section of poetry will address the close connections between poetry and music. Although the course will draw heavily from the works of African American authors, it will not exclude works written by other authors. In fact, the course aims to address the works of as many authors and musical performers as possible.
**Note Well the following policies: Once the door of the classroom is
shut, students will not be allowed entrance into the classroom. No
assignments will be accepted late and no make-up examinations will be given
(Assignments are due at the beginning of class) unless the student can
produce written documentation proving his or her absence was an emergency
excused absence (documented medical problems, court dates, a death in the
family). If a student will be absent the day a written assignment is due, he
or she should turn it in early or ask a classmate to bring it in for him or
her. Participation means constructive and courteous
discussion, cooperative work in groups, and engagement with
material covered. Average (C-level) participation means making at least
one constructive comment every class period. No inappropriate language
(swearing) or behavior (conflicts with the Golden Rule) will be tolerated.
Assignment #1: due January 17. What is poetry? (2.5%)
Assignment #2: due February 7: Poetry Explication: (10%) By definition, an explication (from the Latin word, explicare, which means to "unfold.") is a line-by-line rendering of a passage of poetry or prose. You should select a poem that we have not read and explain its meaning in as detailed a fashion as is necessary. Within your explication, you should attend to matters of poetic form, meter, imagery, and language. Your essay�in its finished form�should be more than a line-by-line rendering but should have a detailed thesis and evidence from the poem that supports this thesis.
Assignment #3: due March 19: Poetry Analysis: (10%) An analysis of a poem calls for a detailed examination of only a single element and its relation to the entire work. In addition, students may want to consider a comparative analysis. A comparative analysis involves analyzing the similarities and differences in two or more poems.
Assignment #4: due April 19: Research Project: (20% of the final grade) Assume that you have been commissioned to write a Critical Headnote introducing a particular poet in an anthology of poetry intended for an introduction to African American poetry course. The editor of the anthology has asked you to select a representative sampling of the poet�s work (between 5-8 poems). Your task is to write a 1000-1500 Critical Headnote. The headnote should introduce your audience to the poet fully and explain how the poems selected help to identify who the poet is (e.g. if you pick George Herbert, your audience should be introduced to the concept of metaphysical poetry and understand how "The Altar" is metaphysical in nature). Since the anthology is intended for novices, the editor advises you to address such topics as imagery, irony, and tone as they arise in the poetry. Although this Headnote should remain the product of your interpretive understanding, it should cite 4-7 outside sources.
Assignment #5: due April 25: What is your favorite poem and why? (2.5%)
**Critical Note** Students are expected to do their own work at all
times. If a student needs additional assistance for the completion of an
assignment, he or she should seek the aid of the instructor. Plagiarism is
using someone else�s work, ideas, or words without giving him or her
credit for it. In our academic community, people earn their livelihood�status
and monetary gain�on the basis of their intellectual labors. Their
reputation builds, in part, by getting cited in the works of others.
Therefore, students and others have a responsibility�legally and ethically�to
cite in their work the ideas, facts, or words produced by the labors of
another. Students are responsible for understanding what plagiarism is,
presenting their own work, and citing their sources. Plagiarism is a major
offense, and students will fail this course if they commit it.
Students with Learning Disabilities:
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act, Shippensburg University makes every effort to meet the reasonable accommodations requests of students with qualified disabilities. If you require any specific accommodations for your academic success, please let me know.
Schedule of Classes:
(Our syllabus is a rough map. We will try to follow it, and deviate from it when good sense gives us reason to do so. Be prepared for changes.)
Course Overview and Introductions
Nikki Giovanni "Mastercard Blues" (handout)
Mya "Case of the X" (handout)
2Pac "Shorty Wanna Be a Thug" (handout)
Gwendolyn Brooks "We Real Cool" (187)
Amiri Baraka "Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note" (229)
"Caedmon's Hymn" (handout)
"Go Down Moses" (traditional Negro spiritual)
"The Cuckoo Song"
"The Three Ravens" (handout)
Robert Hayden "Those Winter Sundays" (167)
Sterling A. Brown "Frankie and Johnny" (116)
Robert Frost: "Stopping by the Woods," "Nothing Gold Can Stay"
Ezra Pound "In a Station of the Metro" (handout)
William Carlos Williams "The Red Wheelbarrow" (handout)
Jean Toomer "November Cotton Flower" (106)
Phyllis Wheatley "On Being Brought from Africa to America" (14)
Francis Harper "The Slave Auction" (48)
"Wade in the Water" (traditional Negro spiritual)
Wilfred Owen: "Dulce et Decorum Est" (handout)
Claude McKay: "If We Must Die" (99) (CD)
William Blake: "The Lamb" and "The Tyger" (handout)
Edmund Waller: "Go, Lovely Rose" (handout)
John Keats "To Autumn" (handout)
Thomas Hardy "Channel Firing" (handout)
William Shakespeare: Sonnet 10, 73, 130
Robert Browning: "My Last Duchess"
Gwendolyn Bennett: "Sonnets" (141)
Raymond Patterson: "Twenty-six Ways of Looking at a Blackman" (206)
James Weldon Johnson "O Black and Unknown Bards" (64)
Paul Laurence Dunbar "We Wear the Mask" (76)
February 7 (Wednesday--Day 12)
Sting: "Wild, Wild Sea," "Wrapped Around Your Finger," "Fortress Around Your Heart"
John Donne: Sonnet 10
Blink 182: "Adam�s Song"
David Bowie: "Rock �N� Roll Suicide"
Third Eye Blind: "Jumper"
Bobby Gaylor: "Suicide"
Neil Young: "My, My, Hey (Out of the blue)"
Kurt Cobain: "Come as You Are"
Andrew Marvell: "To His Coy Mistress"
Meatloaf: "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"
Robert Herrick: "To the Virgins to Make Much of Time"
David Matthew's Band: "Trippin Billies"
John Donne: "The Good Morrow" (handout)
Martina McBride: "My Valentine" (handout)
Sarah McLachlan: "I will Remember You"
Mazzy Star: "Fade Into You"
Meatloaf: "Heaven Can Wait"
Chris De Burgh: "Lady in Red"
Berlin: "Take My Breath Away"
T.S. Eliot: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
Pearl Jam: "Last Kiss"
Third Eye Blind: "How's It Gonna Be"
Stylistics: "Have you seen her?"
Fiona Apple: "Paper Bag," "Never is a Promise," "Sullen Girl," "Criminal," "I know," "sleep to dream"
M.C. Lyte "Paper Thin" (handout)
A Tribe Called Quest "Description of a Fool" (handout)
May Swenson "Women" (handout)
"Millie Pulled a Gun on Santa"
John Donne: "Song"
2Pac "Wonda Why They Call U"
Salt N' Pepa "Tramp" + "Shoop, what a man"
Tori Amos: "China"
Jars of Clay: "Much Afraid"
Trent Reznor: "Hurt"
Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Friendship"
Helen Steiner Rice: "Somebody Loves You"
Mary J. Blige + Dru Hill + R. Kelly
John Lennon: "I am the Walrus,"
Bob Marley: "Soul Rebel," "Trench Town Rock"
"Riders on the Storm," "Roadhouse Blues," "Moonlight Drive"
Sharon Olds: "Sex Without Love"
Tom Petty: "Into the Great Wide Open"
Robert Hunter: "End of the Road," "Touch of Grey," "I Will Love You," "I Will Wait for You"
Phish: "Wading in the Velvet Sea,"
Metallica: "Nothing Else Matters"
Aerosmith: "Crazy," "Amazing,"
Stevie Nicks: "Leather and Lace," "Battle of the Dragon," "long distance winner," "after the glitter fades,"
Fleetwood Mac: "Landslide," "Go Your Own Way"
Etheridge Knight "Hard Rock Returns to Prison"
L.L. Cool J.'s "Illegal Search"
KRS One's "Who Protects Us From You" + "Endangered Species" + "$#@ the Police"
Public Enemy's "Night of the Living Baseheads" + "Can't Truss It"
Vanilla Ice: "Ice, Ice Baby"
Enimem: "Slim Shady," "I Am What I Say I Am," "Kim," "Drug Ballad," and "Rock Bottom"
Emily Dickinson: "Hope is a Thing with Feathers,"
Edgar Allan Poe: "The Raven," Dream within a Dream"
Rush: "Half the World"
Jars of Clay: World's Apart
Tracy Chapman: "Fast Car," "Revolution," and "she's got her ticket"
Pink: "You Make Me Sick"
Cyndi Lauper: "Time After Time"
Walt Whitman: "A Noiseless, Patient Spider,"
Maya Angelou: "Still I Rise," The Rock Cries Out to Us Today"
Rita Dove: "Parsley,"
Nikki Giovanni: "ego tripping"
TLC "Waterfalls" (handout)
Ralph Waldo Emerson "Success"
Rudyard Kipling "If"
Sarah McLaughlin: "Fear," "Do What I Have To," "Path of Thorns"
Bob Dylan "Like a Rolling Stone"
"Stairway to Heaven"