Reading schedule

ENGL 349–Modern Poetry in English

Lectures are on Wednesdays from 18:00 to 20:15, in H-521.

Readings are in the Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry (page # in parentheses), except a few poems available online (follow links on this page). The schedule may change slightly, so please check it regularly.

Throughout the term, we will look at “13 Ways to Modernize a Sonnet”; the featured sonnets are indicated with an asterisk (*). Schedule last updated March 26, 2015.

Week 1: January 7–Introduction

Thomas Hardy “Hap” (44)*, “The Darkling Thrush” (48)
Gerard Manley Hopkins, “The Windhover” (77)*
Claude McKay, “Outcast” (503)*
Archibald MacLeish, “The End of the World” (516)*
E.E. Cummings, “next to of course america i” (550)*
Edna St. Vincent Millay, “Gazing Upon Him Now, Severe and Dead” (512)*
Gwendolyn Brooks, “the sonnet-ballad”*

Walt Whitman, “One’s Self I Sing” (3)
Emily Dickinson, “214” & “249” (33), “657” (38), “1129” (40)

Hopkins, from letters to Robert Bridges (874-77)

Week 2: January 14–The Making of Americans

Whitman, from “Song of Myself” (4-17), “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (18-22)
Dickinson, “258” & “280” (34), “303” (35), “632” & “712” (38), “1732” (41) — here’s a link to the Emily Dickinson Archive, where you can see e-copies of her manuscripts
Pound, “A Pact” (350)

Whitman, Preface to Leaves of Grass (865-70)

Week 3: January 21–W. B. Yeats

“Leda and the Swan” (118),* “The Lake Isle of Innisfree” (94), “The Fascination of What’s Difficult” (101), “The Cold Heaven” (102), “Easter, 1916” (105), “The Second Coming” (111), “The Gyres” (134), “Man and the Echo” (141), “Among School Children” (124), “The Circus Animals’ Desertion” (142)

T.S. Eliot, “Tradition and the Individual Talent” (941)

Week 4: January 28–War Poets

Assignment due: Close Reading (15%)

A. E. Housman, “Epitaph on an Army of Mercenaries” (90)
Siegfried Sassoon, “Dreamers” (390)*, “Everyone Sang” (392)
Wilfrid Owen, “Futility” (529)*, “Dulce et Decorum Est” (527), “Strange Meeting” (528), “Mental Cases” (532)
Owen Seaman, “Pro patria”
Isaac Rosenberg, “Break of Day in the Trenches” (505)
Edith Sitwell, “Still Falls the Rain” (428)
H.D., “The Walls Do not Fall” (401)
Cecil Day Lewis, “Where Are the War Poets?” (744)
Keith Douglas, “Gallantry” (862), “Vergissmeinnicht” (863)
W.H. Auden, from In Time of War: XIV, XVII & WVIII (795)*
Gwendolyn Brooks, “the sonnet-ballad”*

Owen, “Preface” (928)

Interesting reading (optional): see Dana Goodyear’s New Yorker article “War Poet” on Brian Turner, a poet and veteran of the 2003 Iraq war.

Week 5: February 4–Imagism & Vorticism

Part I. Imagism: Guest Lecture by Gillian Sze.

Ezra Pound, “In a Station of the Metro” (351)
William Carlos Williams, “The Great Figure” (291)* & “The Red Wheelbarrow” (294) + “This Is just to Say” (295) & “The Dance” (300)
H.D. “Sea Rose” & “Garden” (395, 396) + “Oread” & “The Pool” (395)
Amy Lowell, “Venus Transiens” (199) & “Shore Grass” (200)

Ezra Pound, “A Retrospect” & “How to Read” (929, 939)
Amy Lowell, Preface to Some Imagist Poets (926)
T.E. Hulme, “Romanticism and Classicism” (889)

[added Feb. 5, re: Gillian’s lecture: link to some information on Pound and Ernest Fenollosa]

Part II. Vorticism

Ezra Pound, Cantos II (370)
Wyndham Lewis, “Long Live the Vortex!” (897), BLAST manifesto (899-920)
Mina Loy : from Songs for Johannes” (269), “Gertrude Stein” (281), “Feminist Manifesto” (922)

Week 6: February 11–Masks & Portraits

T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (463–66)
Gertrude Stein, “Picasso” (178), “Susie Asado” (185)*
Ezra Pound, “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” I – XII (354–60)

Eliot,  “Ulysses, Order, and Myth

Week 7: February 18–Robert Frost & D.H. Lawrence

Assignment due: Report on Scholarly Article (15%)

Frost, “Design” (221)*, “Mending Wall” (203), “The Road Not Taken” (209), “Fire and Ice” (214), “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” (214), “For Once, Then, Something” (215)
Lawrence, “The Wild Common” (323); “Love on the Farm” (324), “Gloire de Dijon” (328); “Snake” (333), “The English Are So Nice!” (339)

Frost, “The Figure a Poem Makes” (984)
Lawrence, “The Poetry of the Present” (960)

February 25: READING WEEK

Week 8: March 4–The Waste Land

Ezra Pound, Cantos I (368) & from XIV (378)
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land (472)

See, if you’re interested, “He Do the Police in Different Voices,” an interactive website devoted to the study of voices in The Waste Land

Week 9: March 11–The Nothing that Is There

Wallace Stevens: “13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” (244); “Anecdote of the Jar” (246); “The Snow Man” (247); “The Emperor of Ice-Cream” (248); “The Idea of Order at Key West” (249)
Laura Riding, “The Map of Places” (666)*
Elizabeth Bishop, “Sestina” & “The Man-Moth
Denise Levertov, “Everything that Acts is Actual

Stevens: “Aphorisms” (971)

Week 10: March 18–The Avant-Garde

***Email me your working thesis statement by 11:59 pm today for bonus points

Marianne Moore: “To a Steam Roller” (433), “In the Days of Prismatic Colour” (437), “Poetry” (438), “To a Snail” (441)
E.E. Cummings: “the Cambridge ladies who live in furnished souls” (548)*, “in Just” (546), “O sweet spontaneous” (547); “my sweet old et cetera” (550); “may i feel said he” (552), “r-p-o-p-h-e-s-s-a-g-r” (552), “i sing of Olaf glad and big” (551)

Lorine Niedecker, “My Life by Water” (719)

Moore, “Humility, Concentration, and Gusto” (994)

Week 11: March 25–The Harlem Renaissance (and beyond)

First hour: Guest lecture by Visiting Professor Megan Fernandes, author of the poetry collection Some Citrus Makes Me Blue

Langston Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (687), “Suicide’s Note” (689), “Montage for a Dream Deferred” (700-704)
Jean Toomer, “November Cotton Flower” (559)*
Claude McKay, “The Harlem Dancer” (501)*, “If We Must Die” (501)*, “The Lynching” (502)*, “America” (503)*
Countee Cullen, “Yet Do I Marvel” (727)*, “Heritage” (729)
Amiri Baraka: “Incident” & “A New Reality is Better than a New Movie!
Optional but worth it: Danez Smith: “Dinosaurs in the Hood” (2014)

Hughes, “The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain” (964)

Week 12: April 1–W.H. Auden et al.

Assignment due: Final Essay (40%)


Gwendolyn Brooks, “my dreams, my works, must wait till after hell
W. H. Auden, “The Unknown Citizen” (800), “In Memory of W. B. Yeats” (798), “Musée des Beaux-Arts” (796), “In Memory of Sigmund Freud” (803), In Time of War XIV & XVIII (795-96)
Dylan Thomas, “Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night

Week 13: April 8: More recent voices

Allen Ginsburg, “America” (and, optionally, “Howl“)
Elizabeth Jennings: “Answers
Ted Hughes, “The Thought Fox”
Sylvia Plath: “Morning Song,”Cut,” & “Daddy
Philip Larkin: “Annus Mirabilis
Geoffrey Hill, “Ovid in the Third Reich”

Assignment due: Take-home exam due in my mailbox by 4:00 PM, Friday April 10

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