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  • English 56: Poets Nature Poetry - Lyric & Narrative ProfessorAndrewWarren TF:JosephineReeceT/Th10-1130BarkerCenter018; jreece@g.harvard.eduThsmalldiscussionstimestobearrangedaftershoppingweek(*seebelow) OfficeHours:T2-4(orbyappointment);151BarkerCenterwarren@fas.harvard.edu

    {from Bingyi, Apocalypse 2011-15 landscapes depicting the devastation of the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes and floods}

    This course is a general introduction to reading, discussing and writing about poetry. Our theme this year will be Nature Poetry that is, poems written about natural environments and humans precarious place within them. We begin with Milton's epic, Paradise Lost, and then turn to eighteenth-century satires by Pope & Swift, and work by the RomanticsWordsworth, Coleridge, Blake, Barbauld, Keats, Shelley, Clare & Charlotte Smith. Other writers will include: Americans like Dickinson & Whitman; Modernists such as Eliot & Stevens; post-war poets including Bishop, Ammons & Walcott; as well as several contemporary poets such as Rae Armantrout & Monica Youn. Each week students will attend one standard 1.5-hour class (half-lecture, half-discussion) as well as a five-person, hour-long close-reading session led by me.* Bi-weekly writing & discussion sessions will also be scheduled with the TF. By the end of the course you will be able to pick up any poem and think, talk and write cogently and creatively about it. *{we will meet for the first class, Th 8/31; after that well sign up to meet in small groups}

    {William Blakes illustration of Miltons Paradise Lost; Wordsworth & Coleridges 1800 edition of Lyrical Ballads;

    a page from Emily Dickinsons herbarium; and covers of A.R. Ammons Garbage (1993), Monica Youns Blackacre (2016), & Rae Armantrouts Entanglements (2017)}

  • TextbookscanbepurchasedneworusedattheHarvardCoop.Thefollowingarerequiredtexts: Milton,ParadiseLost,3rdreviseded,GordonTeskey(WWNorton) NortonAnthologyofEnglishLiterature,VolumeD:TheRomanticEra-9thEd

    o (ParadiseLostandtheNortonAnthologyarebundledattheCoop) MonicaYoun,Blackacre(Graywolf,2016) DerekWalcott,TheBounty(FSG,1998) A.R.Ammons,Garbage(Norton,1993) RaeArmantrout,Entanglements(Wesleyan,2017)

    Andthesearerecommended: JamesLongenbach,TheArtofthePoeticLine-978-1555974886 JoannaKlink,ExcerptsfromaSecretProphecy(Penguin,2015)

    TUESDAYSIwillframethepoemsforthatdaybeforemovingintoclosereadingsofthem;read

    eachpoemacoupletimesbeforeclassTHURSDAYSwillbesmall-groupdiscussionsreadeachpoemmorethanacoupletimesbefore

    eachdiscussion

    Schedule:(subject,ofcourse,tochange);readingsaretobecompletedbythedateslistedbelow.Week0:Th,8/31IntroducingLyric&Narrative:samplesfromMarvell(TheGarden),Wordsworth(TheBoyofWinander),Clare(TheFallenElm),Dickinson,AmmonsandArmantrout

    PartI.Ode&Elegy(firsttake)Week1:T,9/5:Keats:SleepandPoetry(1817),OdetoPsyche,OdetoaNightingale,OdeonaGrecianUrn,OdeonMelancholy,ToAutumn,BrightStar,LaBelleDamesansMerci(1819)Th,9/7:Small-GroupLyricMeetingw/meShelley,MontBlanc(1817)&Stevens,TheIdeaofOrderatKeyWest(1936)Week2:Monday:Meetingw/TFtodiscussmarked-upodepassageT,9/12Milton:OdeontheMorningofChristsNativity(1629,45);ParadiseLost(1667),BooksI-IIITh,9/14:Lycidas(1637),ParadiseLost,BookIV

    FIRSTEXPLICATIONOFANODEdueFriday,5pm

    PartII.EpicWeek3:T,9/19ParadiseLost:BooksV-VIIImemorizeacouplelines&listentoonebookTh,9/21ParadiseLost,BookIX

    ContemporaryInterludeIMonday,September25,5pmMonicaYoun&JoannaKlinkStratisHaviarasReading-ThompsonRoom

    [ReadYounsBlackacre(2016)andselectionsfromKlinksExcerptsfromaSecretProphecy(2015)][[AttendanceRequired]]

    Week4:T,9/26ParadiseLost:BooksX,XI(ll.1-428),XII(ll.270-649);Pope,TheRapeoftheLock(1712);Swift,DescriptionofaCityShower(1710),TheLadysDressingRoom(1732)Th,9/28Pope,TheDunciadending(1743);MonicaYoun,Blackacre(2016);Klink,ExcerptsfromaSecretProphecy(2015)

    Friday:Meetingw/TFtodiscusstwo-pagedraftofMidtermPaper

  • PartIV.LyricalBallads

    Week5:T,10/3Wordsworth,fromLyricalBallads,272-309,320-330(inNorton)Th,10/5TinternAbbey(LB,1798):counttheWordsworths!

    ContemporaryInterludeIIThursday,October5,5pmFrankBidartMorrisGrayReadingThompsonRoom[[ReadselectionsfromWatchingtheSpringFestival(2009)-AttendanceRequired]]

    MIDTERMPAPERDUE:Monday,10/9,5pm

    PartV.Ode(secondtake)Nature&theSupernatural

    Week6:T,10/10Barbauld,AnInventoryoftheFurnitureinDr.PriestlysStudy,(1771),ASummerEveningsMediation(1773);Coleridge:TheEoleanHarp,(1795),KublaKhan(1797-98),ThisLime-treeBowerMyPrison&FrostatMidnight(1800),Dejection:anOde(1802),ThePainsofSleep(1804),ToWilliamWordsworth(1807);Wordsworth:Ode:IntimationsofImmortality(1802)Th,10/12Coleridge,Christabel(1799ish)

    Meetingw/TFtodiscussMidtermPaper

    PartVI.AutobiographicalNarrativeWeek7:T,10/17Wordsworth,selectionsfromthePrelude(1805),pp.356-91Th,10/19Wordsworth,ThePrelude(1805),pp.391-402

    PartVII.LyricWeek8:T,10/24Blake,AllReligionsAreOne,ThereIsNoNaturalReligion(1788),SongsofInnocence(1789);Blake,SongsofExperience(1794);TheMarriageofHeaven&Hell(1793),ASongofLiberty(1792),fromBlakesNotebooks,Anddidthosefeet(1804-10),TwoLettersonSightandVision

    HoughtonLibraryVisitTh,10/26TheBookofThel(1789)Small-groupmeetingswithTFtodiscussdraftsofexplication#2

    PartVIII.Odes&Elegies(thirdtake)Week9:T,10/31Shelley:StanzasWritteninDejection,NearNaples(1818),ToaSkylark,OdetotheWestWind,TheCloud(1820),Adonais(1821)Th,11/2Shelley,Alastor(1816)leadusthroughaveryclosereadingoftenlinesofyourchoice

    SECONDEXPLICATIONOFANODEorCONVERSATIONPOEMdueSunday,5pm

    PartVII.Elegy&Monologue

    Week10:T,11/7Whitman,SongofMyself(1855),CrossingBrooklynFerry(1856),Whitman,WhenLilacsLastintheDooryardBloomd(1864);Ginsberg,Howl(1956)-memorizeacouplelines

    SmallGroupSectionsw/TFSmith,BeachyHead(1806)

  • Th,11/9Dickinson,340:IfeltaFuneralinmyBrain(1862);591:IheardaFlybuzz(1863);764:MyLifehadstoodaLoadedGun(1863)plusothers

    PartVIII.LyricalNarrative&NarrativeLyricWeek11:T,11/16T.S.Eliot,TheLoveSongofJ.AlfredPrufrock,TheWasteLand(1922),I-IITh,11/18TheWasteLand,III-Vmemorizeacouplelines

    PartVII.Lyric(nthtake)Couplets(revisited)&FreeVerseWeek12:T,11/21Walcott,TheBounty(1998)Th,11/23NoClass-ThanksgivingWeek13:T,11/28Ammons,Garbage(1993)Th,11/30Ammons,Garbage;Armantrout,Entanglements(2017)

    ReadingPeriod:reviewsession(w/TF)&lyricpractice(w/me)TBDPROSPECTUSFORFINALPAPERDUE

    FinalPaper:Inadditiontothepoetryonthesyllabus,youmightalsoconsiderwritingaboutheavilyeditedpoemssuchas:Christabel(Coleridge);TheEveofSt.Agnes(Keats);TheTriumphofLife(Shelley)

    12/8FINALPAPERDUE TBDIn-ClassFINALEXAMAssignments:

    SpontaneousReadings:sixquickwritingassignmentsaboutthatdaysreading,atthebeginningofclassscatteredthroughouttheterm.Wellcountyourtopfive.5%

    TwoExplications1ofapoem(3pp):Acarefulreadingofwhatapoemsaysandhowitsaysit;10%each

    MidtermPaper(5pp):Aclosereadingofpoetryfromfirsthalfofthecourse;15% FinalPaper(7-8pp):Acomparativeanalysisofdifferentpoemsorversionsofapoem(drafts,

    manuscriptchanges,&c)fromthesecondhalfofthecourse;20% FinalExam:asignificantpartoftheexamistiedtothelyricassignment(seep.6);20% AttendanceandSectionsParticipation/Assignments:pleasenotetheimportancegivetothis20%

    ReadingTips:

    Poetryhaslines.Itlooksdifferentthanprose,andshouldsoundandfeeldifferenttoo.Youthereforeneedtoreaditdifferently:moreslowly;forsoundandrhythmasmuchasformeaning.

    Youshouldreadeachpoemmorethanonceeventhenarrativeones.Yourfirsttimethrough,justtrytogetafeelforrhythm,imagery,ideas,voice.Tryreadingitoutloud.

    Poetrymakesdifferentdemandsonyouthantherestoftheworldtypicallydoes.Itwilltakeawhiletoadjusttoreadingitintheterm,andeachtimeyousitdownwithapoemitwilltakeyoualittlewhilegetintoit.Readingforlongerperiodswithoutanydistractionisalmostalwaysmoreproductivethanreadinginshort,distractedbursts.

    Readwithapeninyourhandmarkdownanythingyounotice.Ithelpsyouthink,andlateronitcanhelpyourememberwhatyouwerethinking.

    1 Heres a pretty good explanation of an explication: http://writingcenter.unc.edu/handouts/poetry-explications/

  • Noonecantakeinandunderstandapoeminitsentirety,evenashortlyric.Breakitupintodigestiblechunks.

    Whenyourewritingaboutapoem,youshouldreaditfifteentotwentytimesuntilithasdissolvedintothedeeptissuesofyourconsciousness.

    Allreadings,asidefromParadiseLost,OurAndromeda,andLighthead,areintheNortonAnthologyofPoetry.Havingthetextbeforeyouinclassisparamountadayw/othetextbookcountsasanabsence.

    TheFinePrintAcademicHonesty:Plagiarismistheuseofanotherpersonsideasorwritingwithoutgivingthempropercredit.Itisextremelynaughty.Consequencesofplagiarismcanrangefromfailureonthepapertodismissalfromthecoursetoevenmoreseriousactions.YouareresponsibleforfamiliarizingyourselfwithHarvardFASspoliciesonAcademicHonesty,availablehere:http://webdocs.registrar.fas.harvard.edu/ugrad_handbook/current/chapter2/academic_dishonesty.htmlCollaboration:Youareabsolutelyencouragedtotalkwithotherstudentsaboutthecourseanditsreadings,andtoreadeachotherswork.Inindividualassignments(whichmayincludemidtermortermpapers,shortwritingassignments,homeworkorreadingquestionsandresponses,ortake-homeexams),academiccollaborationandexternalsourcesshouldbecited.Attendance:Yourattendanceinclassandinsectionsisvitaltoyourownsuccessaswellastothesuccessoftheclassasawhole.Iwillalloweachstudentafreeabsencetobeusedincaseofsickness,travel,etc:noexplanationnecessary.Missingmorethanoneclasswilldecreaseyourparticipationgrade,andexcessiveabsencecouldresultinfailingthecourse.Also,beinglatereallydisruptstheclass:2lates=1absence.Ifyouhaveattenuatingcircumstances,youmustcommunicatewithmeinatimelymannersothatwecandiscusshowtodealwithit.Computers,Tablets,Phones:No,noandno.NoGoogleGlassoriWatchesorExperimentalUSMilitaryAugmentedRealityContactLenseseither.Atleastnotinclass.Email:Illuseourcourselistservtodistributeimportantinfothroughoutthesemesterfromemailingyouhandoutstoadjustingassignmentsanddeadlines.Youareresponsibleforcheckingyouremailonadailybasis.Ifyouhaveaquestionthatyouneedtoaskmebyemail,besuretogivemeatleast24hours,oryoumaynotgetaresponseuntilit'stoolate.Also,pleaseletmeknowifyoudliketouseanon-Harvardemailaddress.Accommodationsforstudentswithdisabilities:StudentsneedingacademicadjustmentsoraccommodationsbecauseofadocumenteddisabilitymustpresenttheirFacultyLetterfromtheAccessibleEducationOffice(AEO)andspeakwiththeprofessorbytheendofthesecondweekoftheterm,(9/13/2017).FailuretodosomayresultintheCourseHead'sinabilitytorespondinatimelymanner.Alldiscussionswillremainconfidential,althoughFacultyareinvitedtocontactAEOtodiscussappropriateimplementation.

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