From unattributed lyrics of the thirteenth century to contemporary poetry, Reading Poetry explores what Gerard Manley Hopkins called, “All things counter, original, spare, strange.” Class meetings will be largely devoted to word-by-word examinations of individual poems. Some scholarly essays will be a part of our course discussion. We will also listen to and discuss a number of audio recordings, but the focus remains on reading poetry. The courses is not organized as a chronological survey, instead it spans/encompasses/draws from throughout the literary canon in readings selected and grouped by enduring themes, literary periods, and various verse forms.
Reading Poetry is designed to foster a critical appreciation of poetry through close readings that reflect a range of analytic modes. We will always be questioning the experience of poetry and exploring various interpretive strategies for elucidating the interplay between the sound and the sense of the poems.