The Technique of Poetry

English 355, Autumn 2010

Jack Lynch

Course Description

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Office: (973) 353-5204; 531 Hill Hall.

Hours: Monday, 1:30–2:30, Wednesday, 2:30–4:00, and by appointment (appointments are best).

Home: (609) 882-4642 (before 10:00 p.m.!).

E-mail: jlynch@andromeda.rutgers.edu (the best way to reach me).


Course Requirements


Schedule of Class Meetings

Wednesday, 1 Sept.
Introduction. Class business, &c.

Monday, 6 Sept.
No Class: Labor Day.
Wednesday, 8 Sept.
"Cædmon's Hymn"; selections from Beowulf; riddles.

Monday, 13 Sept.
Geoffrey Chaucer, The General Prologue to the Canterbury Tales.
Wednesday, 15 Sept.
Chaucer, selection from Troilus and Criseide; William Langland, selection from Piers Plowman; ballads: "Lord Randal," "Bonny Barbara Allan"; Thomas Wyatt, "They Flee from Me."

Monday, 20 Sept.
William Shakespeare, "The Phoenix and the Turtle." In-Class Exercise: Present your findings on Shakespeare's poem from the Oxford English Dictionary. No need to hand anything in, but you should come prepared with notes.
Wednesday, 22 Sept.
Shakespeare, Sonnets 18 ("Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day?"), 29 ("When, in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes"), 116 ("Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds"), 130 ("My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing like the Sun").

Monday, 27 Sept.
Donne, "Song" ("Go and Catch a Falling Star"), "A Valediction Forbidding Mourning," "The Ecstasy," "The Flea," selections from Holy Sonnets; George Herbert, "The Altar," "The Collar." First OED Exercise Due: Report on any three words in the works of Chaucer, Langland, Wyatt, or Shakespeare.
Wednesday, 29 Sept.
John Milton, "L'Allegro," "Il Penseroso."

Monday, 4 Oct.
Milton, "When I Consider How My Light Is Spent," "Methought I Saw," selections from Paradise Lost.
Wednesday, 6 Oct.
Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress," "The Garden"; Katherine Philips, "To My Excellent Lucasia"; Anne Finch, "The Spleen," "A Nocturnal Reverie"; Aphra Behn, "To the Fair Clarinda." First Close Reading Due: In five pages, provide a close reading of any poem betweeen Chaucer and Milton that we did not discuss in detail in class.

Monday, 11 Oct.
John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, "The Disabled Debauchee," "The Imperfect Enjoyment"; Behn, "The Disappointment"; Jonathan Swift, "A Description of a City Shower," "The Lady's Dressing Room."
Wednesday, 13 Oct.
Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock.

Monday, 18 Oct.
Thomas Gray, "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard." Second OED Exercise Due: Report on any three words in the works of Donne, Herbert, Milton, Marvell, Philips, Finch, Behn, Rochester, Swift, or Pope.
Wednesday, 20 Oct.
William Wordsworth, "Lines" ("Tintern Abbey"), "Ode" ("Intimations of Immortality"), "I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud."

Monday, 25 Oct.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Kubla Khan," "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner," "Dejection: An Ode." Second Close Reading Due: In five pages, provide a close reading of any Restoration or eighteenth-century poem that we did not discuss in detail in class.
Wednesday, 27 Oct.
George Gordon, Lord Byron, "She Walks in Beauty"; Percy Bysshe Shelley, "Ode to the West Wind"; John Keats, "On First Looking into Chapman's Homer," "Ode to a Nightingale," "Ode on a Grecian Urn."

Monday, 1 Nov.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson, "The Lady of Shalott," "The Lotos-Eaters"; Matthew Arnold, "Dover Beach"; Thomas Hardy, "The Voice."
Wednesday, 3 Nov.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning, selections from Sonnets from the Portuguese; Robert Browning, "My Last Duchess," "Fra Lippo Lippi." Third OED Exercise Due: Report on any three words in the works of Gray, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Byron, Shelley, Keats, Tennyson, Arnold, or Hardy.

Monday, 8 Nov.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, selections from Evangeline and The Song of Hiawatha; Edgar Allan Poe, "The Raven"; Walt Whitman, selection from Song of Myself, "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd."
Wednesday, 10 Nov.
Emily Dickinson, all selections.

Monday, 15 Nov.
Edward Lear, "How Pleasant to Know Mr. Lear"; Gerard Manley Hopkins, "God's Grandeur," "The Windhover," "Pied Beauty"; A. E. Housman, "Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry Now"; William Butler Yeats, "The Lake Isle of Innisfree," "The Second Coming," "Sailing to Byzantium," "Leda and the Swan." Third Close Reading Due: In five pages, provide a close reading of any nineteenth-century poem we did not discuss in detail in class.
Wednesday, 17 Nov.
Robert Frost, "Mending Wall," "After Apple-Picking"; Wallace Stevens, "The Emperor of Ice-Cream," "Anecdote of the Jar," "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"; Marianne Moore, "The Fish"; Elizabeth Bishop, "The Fish."

Monday, 22 Nov.
William Carlos Williams, "The Red Wheelbarrow," "This Is Just to Say"; Ezra Pound, "A Pact," "In a Station of the Metro"; T. S. Eliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
Wednesday, 24 Nov.
No Class: Thanksgiving break (Friday schedule).

Monday, 29 Nov.
Eliot, The Waste Land.
Wednesday, 1 Dec.
Jean Toomer, "Reapers"; Langston Hughes, "The Weary Blues," "The Negro Speaks of Rivers"; Richard Wright, selection from Haiku: This Other World; Gwendolyn Brooks, "We Real Cool," "Medgar Evers"; Amiri Baraka, "An Agony. As Now."

Monday, 6 Dec.
Adrienne Rich, "Diving into the Wreck"; Sylvia Plath, "Daddy," "Lady Lazarus"; Allen Ginsberg, selection from Howl, "A Supermarket in California." Fourth OED Exercise Due: Report on any three words in the works of Longfellow, Poe, Whitman, Dickinson, Lear, Hopkins, Housman, Yeats, Frost, Stevens, Moore, Bishop, Williams, Pound, Eliot, Toomer, Hughes, Wright, or Baraka .
Wednesday, 8 Dec.
Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night"; Robert Pinsky, "A Long Branch Song," "The Street"; Richard Wilbur, "Junk"; Philip Larkin, "This Be the Verse"; Anthony Hecht, "The Dover Bitch"; John Hollander, "Swan and Shadow"; Billy Collins, "Litany."

Monday, 13 Dec.
Marianne Moore, "Poetry"; Archibald MacLeish, "Ars Poetica"; Elizabeth Bishop, "Sestina"; John Ashbery, "Paradoxes and Oxymorons." Fourth Close Reading Due: In five pages, provide a close reading of any twentieth-century poem that we did not discuss in detail in class.