English 45 - Winter, 2023

Introductory Topics in Poetry


Class Information

Instructor: Clover, Joshua
CRN: 44692
Time: MWF 1:10-2:00
Location: remote
GE Areas: Writing Experience


Poetry is the oldest & most durable of all literary forms, read across the world, written by far more people than write fiction, but still somehow thought of as niche. That itself is weird enough to be worth studying. In this introductory course we'll read poetry in English from John Donne To Gwendolyn Brooks, with most falling in the last century. Each class session we'll focus on a single poem from the reading to develop specific techniques & strategies of reading & understanding. Our goals will be: (a) to read great writing, (b) to prepare for further literary study, & (c) most important, to preserve the basic strangeness of poems while making them feel legible & open to us, to find in them a way people figured out how to communicate themselves & the world that is...different from the other ways, & thus opens up different possibilities. All texts will be available digitally, free of cost.


Will be based on (i) doing the reading & demonstrating this via both regular course engagement & reading notes, (ii) one short & one less short essay, (iii) one extremely open-book quiz.