Other Useful Information
Being Moved: Poetry, Emotion, Stories
Reading texts intensively. Finding scholarly resources beyond the classroom.
Bringing research back to the class. Working for excellence in oral and
English 140 Fall 1996
1603 Haven Hall
Office Hours: by appointment and M 2-4
- All course books available at Shaman Drum only, 315 South State St.,
- Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads 1798, 2nd
ed. W.J.B. Owen, ed., Oxford
- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Selected Poems, Penguin
- Robert Lowell, Life Studies and For the Union Dead
- Rita Dove, Thomas and Beulah, Carnegie-Mellon
- Diane Wakoski, Medea, The Sorceress (Black Sparrow Press)
- The Poetry Handbook, 4th ed. Babbette Deutsch
- The Norton Introduction to Poetry, 4th ed., J. Paul Hunter
- Course Pack at Michigan Document Service
- South University next to Ulrich's Electronics, between East University
|Weds Sept 4
||Introductions, syllabus review, class database, small group formation
|Mon Sept 9
||Longfellow, Evangeline, "A Tale of Acadie" and "Part The
First," sections 1 and 2 (to p. 17). Read the introduction to the
book, as well. Written homework exercise: Pick a section of 10-12
lines, retype them exactly as they are, only omit all prepositions,
articles, andconjunctions. Leave spaces where the omitted words
appeared. Bring this to class. In class: multimedia version of "Evangeline"
|Weds Sept 11
||Fieldwork: Confer instruction in Mason Hall computer center
|Mon Sept 16
||Fieldwork: Instruction on on-line research materials via digital
collections, electronic bibliographies, reference works online,
Web searches, MIRLYN. Graduate library computer lab (tentative)
|Weds Sept 18
||EvangelineGroups One and Two Presentations
|Mon Sept 23
||Evangeline [Yom Kippur] Groups Three and Four Presentations
|Weds Sept 25
||Evangeline Group Five Presentation
|Mon Sept 30
||Fieldwork: Clements Library next to President's House, focusing
on the cultural history of Boston (tentative). Read for today the
prose section of Lowell's Life Studies, "91 Revere Street"
|Weds Oct 2
||Lowell, "My Last Afternoon with Uncle Devereux Winslow," Group
|Mon Oct 7
||Lowell, "Skunk Hour"Groups Two and Three Presentations
|Weds Oct 9
||Lowell, "For the Union Dead" Groups Four and Five Presentations
|Mon Oct 14
||Fieldwork: Special Collections focusing on 19th-century British
materials (Rare Book Room) Graduate Library (tentative)
|Weds Oct 16
||Wordsworth, "Advertisement" to Lyrical Ballads and "The
Female Vagrant" through line 90 (consult notes) Groups One and Two
|Mon Oct 21
||Wordsworth, finish "The Female Vagrant" Group Three Presentation
and informal midterm course evaluation
|Weds Oct 23
||Wordsworth, compare closely "The Female Vagrant" in the 1798 Lyrical
Ballads to the version that appears in the Course Pack.Groups
Four and Five Presentations
|Mon Oct 28
||Hemans, biographical material and "The Forest Sanctuary" (coursepack)
Faculty/Grad Student Roundtable (in classroom) "Research on 19th-Century
Women Writers" (tentative)
|Weds Oct 30
||Hemans, "The Forest Sanctuary" Group Two Presentation
|Mon Nov 4
||Hemans, "The Forest Sanctuary" Groups One and Three Presentations
|Weds Nov 6
||Hemans, "The Forest Sanctuary"Groups Four and Five Presentations
|Mon Nov 11
||Fieldwork: Bentley Historical Library, Michigan poetry resources,
North Campus (tentative)
|Weds Nov 13
||Wakoski, Medea, to top of p. 10 Group One Presentation
|Mon Nov 18
||Wakoski, Medea, through p. 49 Groups Two and Three Presentations
Group topics for final projects, signed by all group members, due
|Weds Nov 20
||Wakoski, Medea, through p. 75 Groups Four and Five Presentations
|Mon Nov 25
||Poetry, Translation, Prose Fiction: Baxter, "The Cures for Love"
(coursepack) Individual topics for final projects, succinctly stating
your argument, due today
|Weds Nov 27
|Mon Dec 2
||Dove, Thomas and Beulah (tba) Conferences with groups scheduled
for this week
|Weds Dec 4
||Dove, Thomas and Beulah (tba) and course evaluation
|Mon Dec 9
||Dove, Thomas and Beulah (tba) and symposium planning Drafts
of pp 1-3 of individual papers due today
||Extra office hours available by appointment
||Exam Time. If class members can be free until 11 am, 8-10 amgiving
us three hours instead of two, we can use this time slot for the
Symposium at which final projects will be presented.
The groups are five-person teams that are the basis for most course
assignments, oral and written. Written work will be graded individually.
Each group's oral presentations will be given a single grade, which
will apply to all members of the group.
There will be two sequences of small group work during the term. The
first, which will take us nearly up to Thanksgiving, consists of a rotation
of all five groups through five set topics (see chart and list of topics
below). Each group will do a presentation in class on each topic, based
on collaborative investigations. On the day of the presentation, each
group member will hand in a two-page report on the findings they contributed
to the group effort. Once our electronic conference is up and running,
those reports will be "handed in" by being posted on the conference.
In this fashion, other students can refer back to the resources utilized
by others in the class.
IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO EXAMINE CLOSELY THE READING ASSIGNMENT FOR
THE DAY YOUR PRESENTATION IS SCHEDULED AND TO GEAR YOUR PRESENTATION
TO THE CONTENT OF THAT READING ASSIGNMENT.
Each topic should be approached through multiple media. Visual and
video images, newspapers and magazines of the appropriate historical
period, musical scores and recordings, maps, different editions of the
work we are studying--all are welcome. (Just please let me know well
in advance if you will need me to reserve audio-visual equipment!) Whenever
possible make the material available for the class through downloading
on to a disk, photocopying, checking out the book, etc. In a group presentation,
everybody should speak about their particular contribution. Your grades
will be based in part on your ability to demonstrate that you are mastering
the resources and skills introduced in our "fieldwork" excursions (see
When this five-topic rotation has been completed, the groups will disband.
New groups will form, based on the final project. The final project
will also combine group and individual work. Project groups will return
to course materials--assigned or unassigned-- in greater depth, reading
the works of a particular author or authors that we did not have time
to study in class and researching them in greater depth. These new groups
will arise from shared interests in a particular theme, a writer or
group of writers, a location, a period, or a cultural or critical problem.
There will be a schedule of due dates for written project topics, for
a synopsis of the argument, for a first draft. Instead of concluding
with a final exam, the course will culminate in a mini-conference, or
class symposium. At the symposium, to which you may invite other students
and faculty, the project groups will give 15-minute presentations, followed
by discussion and questions from the audience. Each individual student
will submit a polished 6-page critical essay (with footnotes and bibliography)
based on their part of the group project.
I will try to make some class time available so that groups can plan
their work. But group members will need to be in touch by phone, e-mail,
or Confer in order to work effectively together. Furthermore, I strongly
advise each group to meet once a week outside class. You should consider
this a course requirement. Responsibility for contacting group members
and arranging the time and place of your weekly meeting should be rotated
among group members. Each person in a group should have a clear individual
project related to each topic that contributes to the group endeavor.
Some people in the group might work on Web searches, others might visit
various library resources looking for primary or secondary materials,
others could engage in performances (musical, dramatic, or otherwise).
Remember, seek out reference librarians whenever necessary. Make an
effort to vary the kind of task you volunteer for--in other words, if
you are the group's computer whiz, don't always be the one to do the
Web searches; if you are majoring in Art History, don't always be the
one to find reproductions of relevant paintings.
If someone is sick and cannot contribute to a group presentation, that
person will be responsible for an individual four-page response paper
to be handed no more than one week after the missed assignment.
Group Topic Assignments: See Syllabus for Dates
The historical basis of the story, historical figures and events in
the story, historical conditions or tendencies important to the narrative
or mood, the history of ideas and beliefs important to the poem. Significant
events in the year(s) of composition or publication. Look at some newspapers
of that period (on microfilm).
Interviews with authors, authors' correspondence and autobiographies,
scholarly biographies (preferably recent and well-researched) or entries
in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, photographs and paintings
of authors, accounts by family members. Or, imagine that you are the
poet. Write a preface to one of the poems explaining your motives, goals,
C. Form and Style
Stanza type, lines and lineation, syntax, grammar, diction, rhyme,
characteristic metaphors, characterization of speaker(s), imagery, tone.
Or, write a new episode in an appropriate poetic style to be inserted
at a particular point in the poem. Translate any twenty lines of a poem
into any language available to you. Or, select a sentence. Rewrite it
without lineation, as prose. Rearrange it as a verse line, with different
lineation. Change the syntax and grammar of the sentence, trying to
preserve its sense. Alternately, find six images in descriptive or metaphoric
statements. Replace them with different images and discuss the impact
of this experiment.
What can we learn of actual places named or represented in a poem or
inhabited or visited by poets? "Geography" refers to the ecological
and physical features of the land and climate and also to manmade features,
such as transportation systems, cities and towns, agricultural work,
manufacture, and so on. You might find a variety of maps of the same
place, or create your own map of the poem's locations.
E. The Physical Book
The biography of a printed work: Describe an item in the Bentley Library,
Special Collections, or the Clements Library as a physical object: its
print, its binding, its size, its paper, its price (if known), its original
conditions of production, its advertising (if known), its popularity
(if known), type, illustrations, and other physical qualities of the
same work. What's different? What's the same? What difference do these
qualities make to the reader?
- Group topics, signed by all group members, due on: Mon Nov
- Individual topics, stating your argument, due on: Mon Nov 25
- Conferences with groups scheduled for the week of: Mon Dec
- Drafts of pp 1-3 of individual papers due on: Mon Dec 9
- Extra office hours available by appointment: Dec 10-17
Class attendance is required, including attendance at all "Fieldwork"
sessions. This means that more than two unexcused absences will result
in grade reduction, which becomes more severe as absences continue.
It is possible to fail the course by not showing up. Excused absences
are those caused by documented illness and crises in your immediate
family. Equipment failures (cars, buses, computers, alarm clocks) do
not count. Please let me know in advance via a telephone message, a
note, or an E-mail message if you will not be in class.
Please be on time. As soon as I have the final class list, I will have
you sign in at the beginning of each class (8:40) and that will constitute
the attendance record.
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare reading assignments. Since
the class meets on Monday and Wednesdays, try to read the whole week's
assignment between Wednesday and Monday. Then you can review the material
for Wednesday's class the night before. Students should undertake intensive
close reading of the poems. This means read the poem aloud, look up
all the words you don't know, take copious notes on the language and
meanings of the poems and their relationships to one another, draw on
everything you know about history (literary and otherwise), consult
The Poetry Handbook and other resources, and shape your confusions
into cogent questions.
Tip on focus: We won't be able to deal with every aspect of every poem.
As you prepare for class and for group presentations, remind yourself
of some of the key themes of the stories these poems tell: love and
wandering, placed and displaced families, the landscapes of madness,
the suffering and energy of central female figures.
On days when written work is due, you are expected both to arrive on
time with the written assignment in hand and that day's reading assignment
fully prepared. Read the syllabus carefully!
Written work should be typed or printed with a new ribbon. Use your
"SpellCheck" program, if you have one, but don't rely on it exclusively.
I am always delighted to receive work with hand-written (but legible)
corrections on it.
Late papers often result from difficulties that we can prevent if we
talk them through in time. If you have feelings of uneasiness about
an upcoming paper, call me for an appointment as soon as this mood sets
in. Additional writing help is available from the ECB (English Composition
Board). Late papers will be penalized by one full letter grade. Extensions
at my discretion for documented illness and family emergency only.
You are responsible for keeping a copy of all written work submitted.
I live in a swirl of papers and things are easily lost.
In grading, I do not differentiate between the excellence of your prose
and the excellence of your ideas so it is impossible to get a good grade
for poor writing.
If I detect any instances of plagiarism in your written work, or unacknowledged
duplication of your work for other courses, I will actively pursue the
college procedures that can end in suspension or expulsion.
Because attendance is required and because the class session is fundamental
to the intellectual work of the seminar, it is possible to fail the
course on the basis of inadequate attendance alone, regardless of grades
on specific assignments.
An "A" or "A-" indicates an exceptional performance on an assignment.
I reserve this grade for work of unusual distinction. Not only has the
student taken an intellectual risk by thinking independently; also she
or he has mastered the material and his/her own thinking by articulating
well-conceived ideas in lucid prose. An "A" paper demonstrates that
the student has explored the issue in depth, and has given appropriate
attention to the stylistic means of expression through which ideas and
feelings take on cogent, rich significance.
The "B" range of marks indicates that the student has tackled an interesting
and challenging problem and has succeeded in elucidating it well. A
"B" is equivalent to "very good," "highly competent." Problems with
logic or with expression (including grammar, usage, and spelling) bring
the grade down to the "B-" range.
Even outstanding students may well receive some "C" grades. A "C" indicates
that a thesis is delineated, but that the argument does not succeed
in fully developing the issue. There may be some lapses in logic, indicated
by awkward transitions. The analysis is not fully persuasive because
there is sparseness of detailed examples and some lack of illustrative
demonstration of the major points. The writer does not fully explain
why he or she has come to the conclusion expressed. The thesis itself
may be too broad, disabling a tightened focus, or it may be weak, not
challenging the writer to think deeply about the questions involved.
Repetitiveness or redundancy may also be found in the "C" essay, as
well as mechanical or formulaic thinking. More serious problems of argumentation,
difficulties with sentence structure, or a lack of coherence bring the
mark down to a "C-".
A "D" indicates inadequate work. Many of the problems cited for the
"C" paper are evident in the "D" paper, but to a greater extent. A paper
that has both serious conceptual or organizational problems and serious
grammar and usage problems is marked with a "D."
The Hopwood Room is located on the first floor of Angell Hall, immediately
through the glass doors to your right as you enter the building. It
is the center of creative writing activities at the University and sponsors
a famous series of student writing competitions. It also serves tea,
coffee, and cookies on Thursday afternoons. Get in the habit of stopping
by and browsing through the poetry magazines: these are your major source
of recent work by living poets, reviews of poetry books, and interviews
Terrific poets visit Ann Arbor all the time. For example, on September
14, David Wojahn is reading. On September 15, the Nobel laureate, Derek
Walcott, is reading. This is a must for our course. On September 26,
another one of the major poets of our day, A.R. Ammons, is reading.
On September 27, there will be a performance of a song cycle by Bill
Bolcum, U/M's Pulitzer-Prize-winning composer, based on the poetry of
the Jane Kenyon. Go to a poetry reading or performance and write up
a report for extra credit, posting in on Confer. When you go to a reading,
take careful notes so that you can retain your impressions. Be sure
to write down the titles of the poems, in case you want to read them
later on. In your report you should focus on the character of the poet's
performance, the insights gained from the poet's comments on his/her
own work, and the qualities of the work itself.
- Good places to find interviews with poets: American Poetry Review,
The Paris Review, Poets and Writers. Good places to find book reviews:
Parnassus: Poetry in Review, Poetry Magazine, The Women's Review
of Books. Volumes with asterisks include interviews with or commentary
- Black Riders, Jerome McGann
- *Black Women Writers At Work, Claudia Tate
- *Best Poems of 199-- [an annual collection]
- Dictionary of Literary Biography (multivolume)
- *Ecstatic Occasions, Expedient Forms David Lehman, Ed.
- Feminism and Poetry: Language, Experience, Identity in Women's
Writing, Jan Montefiore
- Free Verse: An Essay on Prosody Charles Hartman
- A Gift That Cannot Be Refused: The Writing and Publishing of Contemporary
- American Poetry, Mary Biggs
- Marjorie Perloff, numerous books on contemporary poetry
- In Pursuit of Poetry, Robert Hillyer, 1960, esp. Part II, "The
Elements of Verse"
- "Language Sampler, " Paris Review 24.86 (1982) pp. 75-271.
- ``Shifting Politics in Bedouin Love Poetry'' Lila Abu-Lughod, in Language
- Politics of Emotion eds. Lutz and Abu-Lughod
- The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
- The Rhetoric of the Contemporary Lyric and Style and Authenticity
- Postmodern Poetry, Jonathan Holden
- Shakespeare's Sisters: Feminist Essays on Women Poets Gilbert
- Stealing the Language: The Emergence of Women's Poetry in America,
- Suskin Ostriker
- The L-A-N-G-U-A-G-E Book Charles Bernstein
- *The Writer on Her Work Vols 1 and 2, Janet Sternberg
- Toward a New Poetry Diane Wakoski
- Writing a Woman's Life, Carolyn Heilbrun