Dr. Laura L. Runge
|Weekly posts (14)||45 points|
|Student led discussions (2)||40 points||2-3 page device paper (draft 9/13) due 9/27||20 points||5 page analysis paper (draft 10/27) due 11/10||25 points||Anthology project (sample 11/29) due 12/6||40 points||Attendance, participation||20 points||Mandatory office visit (one time)||10 points|
We will divide the class into Groups A and B, and you will be responsible for posting on the day your group is assigned. Posts MUST be received by midnight the night before the class on which it is due so that everyone will have an opportunity to read the posts on the morning before class. You are responsible for writing AND reading posts.
For part one of the class (readings in Perrine and Oliver), you will be responsible for writing an annotation to a line, word or phrase in a specific poem that I assign. To learn which poem we will be annotating for class, click on the date of the class on the syllabus above; this link will lead you to notes and discussion questions for the day’s class.
Annotation will become a major tool for us in this class, as we use it to examine closely different parts of the poem, to reveal multiple meanings and subtle nuances, and to develop our ability to express meaning in poetry through writing. To learn more about how we annotate or what annotation is, pay particular attention to Chapter three in Perrine on Denotation and Connotation. Also, Perrine offers some discussion of techniques to be used in annotation in Part 2 Writing About Poetry, in particular pp. 305-6 on explication and analysis and the examples of papers provided 334 and 337.
For weekly posts, which are informal writings, we should focus on a single word or phrase as it conveys meaning to the poem as a whole. In other words, before annotating the specific word or phrase, the student should have a grasp of what the poem is about, and then through deeper consideration of the meaningful word or phrase, the annotation brings about a fuller understanding of the poem. Annotations can begin with formal definitions of words, drawing on Oxford English Dictionary (available online through our library’s Virtual Library) or other reliable reference dictionaries. Sometimes slang words are used, and in such a case a slang dictionary (see reference in the library) will be useful. In the case of proper nouns, other reference works, such as encyclopedias, may be necessary. Often annotations will draw on multiple meanings of the word or phrase, which add complexity, ambiguity and richness to the poem’s overall meaning. In such cases, the annotation should follow through on the implications of each relevant meaning, demonstrating how each affects the overall meaning of the poem. Other considerations for filling out the annotation include a consideration of the connotations – social, religious, political, historical, etc. As in denotation, the annotation should follow up on the implications of the different connotations of the word or phrase. Then there are the roles that meaning/connotations play in figurative language, particularly if the phrase is part of a central metaphor or other poetic device. Finally, the annotation should take into consideration the role of sound when appropriate. As you begin to write annotations, always consider why the poet chose this particular word or phrase and not another that might satisfy some of the other requirements of the poem.
It should be expected that your annotations become increasingly complex as you become more versed with the techniques of poetry.
Student Led Discussions:
Each student in the class will be required to lead a discussion
of a poem from Keats and from Rich. Thus, each student will do
two (2) discussions. We will sign up for specific poems early
in the semester, so that each student will be aware of the dates
for his or her presentations.
The object of these oral presentations is to get the student to practice analyzing poetry in an open-ended way, bringing observations and questions to the class and probing the class to explore details of the poem further. No outside research is required for the presentation, but it is welcome. The student assigned to a specific poem on the syllabus will be “extra-ready” to discuss the poem, and he or she will begin the discussion with an overview of the poem. He or she will be the poem’s “expert” and should be prepared to ask and answer questions on the poem. Fear not; you will never be saddled with complete responsibility for the poem! I will always be there to co-lead discussions. However, your job will be to do extra preparation and to bring to class focused ideas for leading a discussion of the poem. Here are some guidelines for your presentations:
The introduction of the poem should last between five and ten minutes
and it should involve the following:
Also provide discussion questions: pick out specific details in the poem that might generate productive conversation or might open up the meaning of the poem; or develop questions that will lead the class to a deeper understanding of the poem; or ask questions about the meaning of particularly difficult or ambiguous parts of the poem. It is a good idea to prepare these on a handout for the class to read with you. I can also post these to Blackboard before class if you like.
Device paper (draft due 9/13) due 9/27
2-3 page paper focused on a specific example of a single poetic
device. The object of the paper is to define the poetic device
and illustrate it through a single example. For example, you may
write an essay defining a metaphor of the fourth form (Perrine’s
vocabulary, see p. 72) and use Dickinson’s “It sifts from leaden
sieves” to illustrate. Alternatively, you may want to define
and explain the poetic device of repetition and use Gwendolyn
Brooks’ “We Real Cool” to demonstrate the effectiveness. The
challenge will be to choose a good example and to write clearly
and comprehensively about the meaning conveyed by the example.
You need to choose a poetic device that is complex enough to give
you matter for at least two pages and yet not overly complex so
that you can treat the device fully. Follow this linke for more
on this assignments.
By “poetic device” I mean any technique or tool employed by the poet to produce meaning in the poem. This is an exercise in vocabulary and reading. Challenge yourself to work on a device that you are not familiar or at ease with. Remember that not all the elements of poetry that we are studying would be considered a poetic device. Fo r example, “diction” or word choice is not an appropriate subject for your paper. Neither is tone. All poets use diction, and all poems have tone. Diction constitutes ifferent devices, and so you will look at word choice in your explanation of a device. Certain devices help to create tone, and so you may discuss tone as an effect of the device. Metaphors, allusions, parodies, use of line length and caesura, internal rhymes, etc., all serve as good devices.
Analysis Paper (draft 10/27) due 11/10
5 page paper focused on a particular aspect of Keats’ poetry.
See section on Writing on Poetry in Perrine’s Sound and Sense,
page 306, for a detailed description of analysis. There is
also a good example of this type of paper beginning on page 337.
This assignment differs from the previous one in that you are
challenged to make a point about one aspect of Keats’ poetry.
While your first essay is an exercise in applying what you have
learned, this essay requires you to offer interpretation of the
poem in a more complete and comprehensive way. You may choose
a single poem and discuss its thematic development; or you may
choose a single image repeated in several poems. Again, choose
a topic that fits the five-page limit. The object is to address
an idea sufficiently – not too little, not too much. If you
have questions or doubts, please check with me. Also, I will
give you advice on this on the draft of your paper.
Anthology Project (sample 11/29) due 12/6
This is the culmination of your work in the class, and it should
demonstrate that you have met the objectives of the course.
You will compile an anthology of poems grouped thematically; you
will provide an introductory essay for the collection and you will
briefly introduce and annotate each poem. For fairly obvious
reasons, you will probably not want to include long poems (poems
over 200 lines). You may photocopy the poem to be included in
your project, or you may type it. Please include line numbers if
available. You should include at least 5 poems, but for each
poem under 25 lines you should include a second poem.
Make sure to include an appropriate title for the collection. After this provide a general introduction of approximately 3-4 pages. This opening essay describes your theme and how each poem fits into the whole and compares with the others. Strive to treat the poems both as an object of artistic creation – focusing on form and technique and evaluating the success of these techniques, and as a vehicle of meaning – focusing on the themes or ideas conveyed. To introduce each poem you will be responsible for a brief essay, between 1 and 2 pages in length. The essay should provide important information about the author, the title, the original publication, context or background if relevant. The remainder of the essay s hould include a short analysis of the poem, beginning with a coherent and concise description. Highlight the strengths of the poem, and if appropriate the weaknesses of the poem. Include an analysis of form as well as content. One objective of the brief introduction is to demonstrate why the poem is worth including in your private anthology. However, you need not write "I am including this essay because ...." Rather, demonstrate the poem's worth (and your ability to distinguish the values of a poem) in the essay on the poem's strength. Each introduction should be followed by the poem, as in a published anthology.
Annotations of difficult or particularly rich phrases or words, as well as non-English, slang or archaic words, personal names and other proper nouns, should follow the poem, indexed to line numbers.
This project will be subject to the rules of formal writing, and so you should proofread carefully and prune for style. Pay particular attention to the section on Writing About Poetry in Perrine’s.
You can choose the poems from the syllabus, or from the selection of poems provided in the textbooks. If you choose a work outside of these parameters, please seek approval from me beforehand.
Mandatory Office Meeting
Sometime by mid-October, I would like to meet each of you
outside of class for an informal one-on-one discussion.
These are short, unscripted meetings. I’ve found it very
beneficial to meet with my students in my office and to
learn a bit about the person you are. This will also give
you an opportunity to learn a little about me and to ask
any questions you might not feel comfortable asking in class.
We can also discuss your progress in class and any individual
strategies for you to get the most out of the class. If you
cannot attend my scheduled office hours, please let me know,
and we can set up an appointment.