Course Description and Objectives:
The course design assumes that students may work independently at their own pace through the material, though in some terms we may offer in-person or live online classes. Each chapter of the text has Forum questions or other assignments linked to it. Some assignments have mini-lectures or recorded material attached to them; others just revolve around the text. As you proceed further in the course, you will be asked to write both criticism and poetry of your own and will have a final take-home examination that will draw on the earlier Forums and other assignments. Online sessions will be held weekly where you may discuss the material, ask questions, or share your written work with others. These online sessions will be recorded so that students who cannot attend synchronously will still be able to pose questions, have them answered, and share with others.
What will the course cover? Even before the advent of writing, poetry existed. The oral traditions of the world offer rich veins of poetry to the literary miner, and poetry persists today as an intrinsic part of our culture, both "high" and "low." In this course, we will strive to appreciate poetry in its many guises and forms. We will examine the techniques by which the wordsmith--the poet--takes the stuff of sound and rhythm and molds it into a finished product: the poem. We will learn how the poet adds "meaning" to those mechanical aspects in order to enrich the poetic experience. We will also try our hand at making the words dance for ourselves.
Given the assumptions above, students may expect that they will be called on to read extensively, to discuss those readings in class (whether in person, via Elluminate, or in the Forums on MyHeritage), and to write regularly concerning the readings and discussions. All of these elements will be factored into the course evaluation system.
In general, the course has these objectives for students to pursue:
(1) Become acquainted with the terminology for talking about poetry.
(2) Learn the basics of writing poetry.
(3) Explore some of the methods for both enjoying and analyzing poetry.
(4) Improve analytic writing skills both in and out of class.
(5) Practice presentation skills.