English 289b T. Devaney
MW 12:30-2 HU III

Contemporary Poetry

English 289b is a survey of contemporary American poetry from 1950 to the present (roughly from Allen Ginsberg to Lyn Hejinian).  Through close readings and the use of critical texts, the course will explore poetic practices and various verse structures with a critical eye focusing on ways in which poets have undertaken the task of redefining poetry in relation to tradition, aesthetics, history, politics, and to language itself. The interplay and generative tensions between the poet’s profound distrust and profound passion for language is examined throughout the survey. This course also traces the development of several strands of contemporary poetry including confessionalism (use of autobiography), formalism, anti-formalism, conceptualism, as well as the major poetic schools and movements.

Brief response assignments; one short critical essay (5-7 pp.); one longer critical essay (12-15 pp.). Desire to engage in an extended meditation about a spectrum of poets, texts, and conceptual issues. Close reading and close listening coupled with participation in engaged conversation.