ENGL 125: Introduction to Poetry
|Course Home Page||Blackboard||Instructor’s E-mail|
|Overview and Goals||Course Materials||Method|
|Assignments and Exams||Grading||Honor Code|
Nearly everyone loves some form of poetry—in a popular song, a sentimental poem found on a greeting card, a patriotic hymn, or a beautifully worded epitaph on a gravestone. It is unlike any other artistic form, and each poem conveys a message that cannot be transmitted any other way. In this class, we are going to explore how poetry creates that meaning.
English 125 is most importantly a class about learning how to read, hear, and enjoy poetry. To that end, we will spend most of our time on shorter, lyric poems. We will probably look at some corollary materials, such as illustrations and historical information, but will mostly focus on finding our way through lines of poetry.
I have four main goals for you as you take this course:
- that you hear poetry when you read it
- that you pay attention to all the meaningful details of a poem
- that you can discuss poetry critically and in a manner suited to a broader audience
- that you gain some historical perspective of English and American poetry, especially within literary history.
- Ferguson, M., Salter, M.J., and Stallworthy, J. The Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter Fifth Edition, 2004
- The American Heritage Dictionary
The texts can be obtained from Friday Center Books & Gifts at the Friday Center in person, by ordering online, or by printing and mailing the book order form.
All page numbers in the lessons refer to the Norton Anthology of Poetry, Shorter Fifth Edition.
This course does not carry a heavy reading load because I want you to read the assigned poems aloud. I have also included as many recordings as I could find. In general, we will move chronologically, because I think it helps to see how the forms of poetry change with time. We will always want to be looking for the connections among the historical periods and the forms. For example, we will read a lot of sonnets, and you will be able to read a Christina Rossetti poem and look back to Shakespeare or Donne to see how Rossetti alters the form to express her own content.
Words or phrases marked in bold are usually terms that need to be looked up. Things that are italicized are either for emphasis or to remind you of a term you should know (and maybe review).
There will be a midterm and final exam. Both exams will likely include long-answer identification passages, terms, essays, and an explication. Both exams will be sent to you via e-mail and returned to me at a designated time. See Schedule for exact dates. The exams are open book and open Blackboard site, but I still encourage you to study for them as though you were taking them in the classroom. The exams are timed, and there isn’t enough time to look up everything you didn’t study before the exam.
You will write six papers. Five are short papers (two pages) on various elements of poetic form. The final paper will be four to five pages long and will be an explication. I strongly encourage you to send me drafts of your papers. We don’t have the opportunity to meet in an office or at a coffee shop, so use this chance to collaborate with me on your work. Your work will improve, and so will your grade! I will read as many drafts as I can, so get yours in first.
You must post at least once for each topic. The posts are due on the first day of discussion for each topic; the following day is reserved for further clarification, comments, and elaboration from me and from your classmates. Our discussion forums are on Blackboard. See Course Mechanics for details.
Guidelines for Discussion Forum Posts: The Blackboard discussion forum is our virtual classroom. This is where we interact, test out ideas, and have those ideas evaluated. It is the only way we have to know each other and get comfortable with each other. I hope that we will develop a sense of coherence and community as a class, even though we are online. Please do think through your posts, and don't write off the top of your head. Also speak plainly and directly, rather than trying to sound a certain way. Be willing, however, to risk an idea that you think might be “off” or even wrong. By accepting occasional skepticism, you open yourself up more to your classmates and to me, and you create a valuable learning experience for everyone. Please be thoughtful and respectful of others' ideas and questions so that we can maintain trusting and open discussions.
Moreover, the forum makes up nearly twenty percent of your grade, so your posts must be substantial. Your posts and subsequent discussion are necessary for learning the course material: not everything is included in the Lessons. Therefore, at the beginning of the semester, I will offer constructive criticism about what constitutes a good post. I won’t continue to comment on your posts, but I will be assessing them to determine your discussion forum grade at the end of the term. The forum can make a dramatic difference in your grade.
Your electronic reading journal is a way of keeping up with some of the more nitty-gritty elements of reading—looking up words, making notes about rhyme schemes, paraphrasing difficult lines, and so on. It is a little bit like homework and a little bit like a quiz. You will turn in your reading journal responses every Friday by midnight. They will be graded simply with a check, a check minus, or a check plus, depending on the quality of your work. A check means that everything is complete and fine. A check plus means you have done something extra, and a check minus means, obviously, that you haven’t put enough into your work. You may receive a zero if you turn in overly brief or perfunctory responses.
When you send your reading journal, please save it as a Word document, following this form: RJ#_Name.doc. The RJ# indicates the number of the journal, so for the first one, it will be RJ1 and so on. For Name, substitute your name.
Please read the Reading Journal Guidelines.
There will be four worksheets on the elements of poetry known as “prosody.” The worksheets correspond to Papers 2 through 5, which concern rhyme, meter, imagery, and syntax. The worksheets are worth ten (10) points each and will be due about a week before the paper is due. They will help you prepare for writing the papers.
You will be expected to know the material on the worksheets for the exams.
Your final grade will be itemized thus, for a total of 1,000 points:
|Five short papers (50 points each)||
|Worksheets on prosody (10 points each)||
|Discussion forum participation||
Academic dishonesty in any form is unacceptable. Review the University’s honor code. If you have questions about what constitutes an honor violation in this course, please contact me.
Some of your class components (discussion forums, class listserv) are accessed through a software package called Blackboard, and you will need to log in to Blackboard using a unique identifier known as your UNC Onyen (Only Name You'll Ever Need) and Onyen password.
There is a link to the Blackboard site in the gray navigation bar at the top of every page in this course. Click on that link, and then use your Onyen to log in to Blackboard. Click on the ENGL 125 link, and you will see navigation buttons on the left side of the screen labeled Announcements, Discussion Forum, and so on.
If you experience problems accessing Blackboard, this is what you should do:
- If you do not already have a UNC Onyen, go to the Onyen Web site and follow the instructions for creating an Onyen.
- If you have an Onyen but have forgotten it (or the password), go to the Onyen Web site
- If you have your Onyen but can't log in to Blackboard, contact Janice Durham at the Friday Center.
- If you can log in to Blackboard but can't find this course listed, contact Janice Durham at the Friday Center.
- If you can't locate a forum in Blackboard, contact the Instructional Designer at the Friday Center.
- If you have technical problems while using Blackboard, contact Blackboard Help (use the Help button in Blackboard, or call 919-962-HELP).
Students enrolled in Carolina Courses Online can access online library resources from the UNC Library System by linking to Library Services for Distance Education Students. This site includes information on using general online reference works as well as accessing e-reserves.
If you are using an off-campus computer, you will need to enter your Onyen to access the readings that are available through the e-reserve system. The UNC library staff is available to assist any students who have difficulties accessing online library resources. If you encounter difficulties, please report your problem by visiting this Web page for reporting a problem.
All communication from your instructor will go to your UNC Onyen e-mail address (the one that appears when you post to the discussion forum). Off-campus users can access their UNC e-mail using Webmail. You can have your e-mail forwarded to a different e-mail address by clicking “Forward e-mail” at the Onyen Web site.
If you use a filter on your e-mail account, you are responsible for ensuring that it does not prevent you from receiving messages from me, the course listserv, or Friday Center staff. Hotmail users should be aware that Hotmail will block messages sent from within Blackboard because Blackboard uses “blind carbon copy” to protect privacy. We recommend that you use your UNC Onyen e-mail account rather than forwarding to Hotmail for this course.
It is extremely important for you to save copies of any work you send to me via e-mail. If I don't receive your work, you must have a duplicate copy, indicating the date sent, to prove that you submitted the assignment on time. It is your responsibility to maintain copies of your sent e-mails, as there is no way to guarantee that any e-mail message will be delivered.
Please check your e-mail software to see how it manages sent and saved messages. Some software automatically deletes messages one month after they have been sent; others only save messages if they are filed in folders; others save messages received but not those sent. You may need to send yourself a copy of your e-mailed assignment at the same time you send it to me, or you may need to print a copy of the e-mail message and any attachments to keep in your paper files. No matter how your system works, make sure you know how to save a copy of all work that you submit and that you save the copy for several months beyond the end of the course.
If you have questions regarding
- the content of the course and your progress, contact your instructor. There is a link to the instructor’s e-mail address at the top of every course Web page.
- bad links or other problems with this Web site, contact the Instructional Designer at the Friday Center.
- enrollment, Onyen, credits, withdrawal, and so on, contact the Student Services staff at the Friday Center for Continuing Education (phone 919-962-1134 or 800-862-5669).
Class begins January 9, and we follow the approved UNC-Chapel Hill academic calendar. Pay close attention to the schedule and the calendar. Click on the link for each lesson to view the assignments and my lecture.
|Lesson 1: Introduction
|First Impressions of Poetic Forms and Method of Reading Poetry|
|Lesson 2: The Sonnet in England
|Topic 1: Sir Philip Sidney|
|Topic 2: William Shakespeare, Part 1|
|Topic 3: William Shakespeare, Part 2|
|Lesson 3: Metaphysical Poetry
|Topic 1: John Donne|
|Reading Journal 1 (Lessons 1.1 through 3.1)|
|Draft of Paper 1|
|Topic 2: George Herbert|
|Topic 3: Seductions|
|Topic 4: John Donne's Sonnets|
|Worksheet 1 on rhyme|
|Reading Journal 2 (Lessons 3.2 through 3.4)|
|Topic 5: George Herbert's Sonnets|
|Lesson 4: From the Renaissance to the Romantic
|Topic 1: Romanticism and the Revival of the Ballad: Wordsworth|
|Topic 2: Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Blank Verse in the Lyric|
|Worksheet 2 on imagery|
|Lesson 5 : Other Forms of Romantic Poetry
|Reading Journal 3 (Lessons 3.5 through 4.2)|
|Topic 1: The Romantic Ode: Keats|
|Topic 2: Romantic Sonnets: Wordsworth|
|Topic 3: Romantic Sonnets: Keats|
|Lesson 6: The Victorian Imagination
|Reading Journal 4 (Lessons 5.1 through 5.3)|
|Topic 1: Forms of Myth|
|Topic 2: The Dramatic Monologue|
|Topic 3: The Victorian Sonnet: Barrett Browning|
|Topic 4: The Victorian Sonnet: Rossetti|
|Reading Journal 5 (Lessons 6.1 through 6.3)|
|Worksheet 3 on rhythm and meter|
|Midterm Exam||distributed and taken by appointment|
|Lesson 7: The Century’s Pulse
|Topic 1: Thomas Hardy|
|Topic 2: Emily Dickinson|
|Reading Journal 6 (Lessons 6.4 through 7.2)|
|Topic 3: William Butler Yeats|
|Lesson 8: Approaching Modernism
|Topic 1: Later Yeats|
|Worksheet 4 on syntax|
|Topic 2: World War I Poetry: Wilfred Owen and Rupert Brooke|
|Topic 3: Robert Frost, Part 1|
|Reading Journal 7 (Lessons 7.3 through 8.2)|
|Lesson 9: Modernist Form
|Topic 1: New Forms for the Imagination|
|Topic 2: T.S. Eliot and The Waste Land|
|Lesson 10: The Formal Return
|Reading Journal 8 (Lessons 8.3 through 9.2)|
|Topic 1: Robert Frost, Part 2|
|Topic 2: Dylan Thomas|
|Topic 3: Philip Larkin|
|Lesson 11: Living Voices, Living Forms
|Reading Journal 9 (Lessons 10.1 through 10.3)|
|Topic 1: Richard Wilbur|
|Topic 2: Seamus Heaney and Wendy Cope|
|Reading Journal 10 (Lessons 11.1 and 11.2)|
|Final Exam||distributed and taken by appointment|