ENG201Y1Y: Reading Poetry (L5101--Percy)

Location:New College, Wilson Hall 523
Classes: Wednesdays, 6:10-9.
You should be aware of the WALKSAFER program: 978-SAFE.
If you are wondering whether bad weather might cause the campus to be closed, phone 978-SNOW.
Instructor:Professor Carol Percy
Course Pages:http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~cpercy/courses/eng201-2002.htm
Office:New College, Wetmore Hall 125 (near the registrar's office, before 6pm)
Office hours:For this course, TBA once I've got a sense of your schedules. Also Tuesday 12:15-1, Thursday 11:15-12, or by appointment
Mailbox:Hand in your work in class, or to the porter at Wetmore Hall

Calendar description

An introduction to poetry through a close reading of texts, focusing on its traditional forms, themes, techniques, and uses of language; its historical and geographical range; and its twentieth-century diversity.

Section (L5101) description

The poetry we'll be looking at is arranged in more or less chronological order, from Old English through the twenty-first century. They're also grouped in units, each unit focussing on a literary or poetic topic (e.g. vocabulary, figurative language, verse forms, rhythm, etc.). You're responsible for reading and thinking about everything on the syllabus, although we will discuss only one or two poems in depth. Occasionally during first term I’ll put a more recent poem on the list: enjoy.

By the end of the first term, we'll have looked at a sample of poems up to about 1800. In the second term we'll continue the chronological approach, while emphasizing modern diversity. You’ll also have a chance, in your group presentation, to consider the cultural function of poetry in Toronto by attending and analyzing an event.

The assignments are weighted rather heavily towards the second term. In first term, once enrolment has settled and I’ve sorted out the “bulletin board” software, I’ll be expecting you to submit several brief, inquisitive, rich directed responses to the week’s readings (best 2 = 5%), and to engage thoroughly in the course material and class discussion, exercising your interpreting skills and building your competence and confidence.

Methods of evaluation

Best two 250-word directed responses to first term poems, posted on the course bulletin board by Tuesday 12 noon before Wednesday’s class – this will start after week 3 (5%), two short essays, one due on November 13th (12.5%), the other on January 22nd (10%); two short-answer tests, one a take-home due December 4th (10%), and one in class on March 5th (12.5%); one in-class essay on February 12th (10%), contribution to a group presentation during second term (10%), informed, intelligent, consistent participation in class and (when it's up) on the course bulletin board (5%), final examination between April 21st and May 9th 2003 (25%).

Course objectives My aims are for you Required texts and resources (at the University of Toronto Bookstore)

Poems will be taken from The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 4th edition, unabridged, ed. Margaret Ferguson, Mary Jo Salter, and Jon Stallworthy (New York and London: W.W. Norton and Company, 1996), and from the course home page, http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~cpercy/courses/eng201-2002.htm

Required readings for each unit will be taken from Stephen Adams, Poetic Designs: an introduction to meters, verse forms, and figures of speech (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1997), and from books on short-term reserve (Robarts Library, 3rd floor), particularly Paul Fussell's Poetic Meter & Poetic Form, revised edition (New York: Random House, 1979).

You must also have access to a handbook of literary terms (M.H Abrams, for instance), to a good desktop dictionary and to the Oxford English Dictionary: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/oed/

For access to the OED, you may need a "proxy server account": see http://www.library.utoronto.ca/services/libraryusers/proxy.html

Good online resources
Texts of poems:

Representative poetry online: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/intro.html
Literature online: http://lion.chadwyck.com

Critical resources:

Glossary of poetic terms: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/poetterm.html
Representative poetry's bibliography of print resources: http://www.library.utoronto.ca/utel/rp/bibliography_2001.html
Modern American poetry: http://www.english.uiuc..edu/maps/index.htm

ENG201Y (L5101, Percy): Schedule:

  1. a. Course introduction (September 11)
    b. Old English: poetic techniques and some themes

    Caedmon's "Hymn" (1)
    Beowulf-poet, ["The last survivor's speech"] (7)
    Reassurance: I do not expect you to understand the Old English!! Think about the effects of some of the techniques...

    If you're curious about Old English versification, there's a good essay on "The nature of Old English verse" by Donald G. Scragg in The Cambridge Companion to Old English Literature, ed. Malcolm Godden and Michael Lapidge (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1991): conveniently, there's a copy on short term loan at Robarts (3rd floor), call number PR 173 C36. The chapter not only outlines the techniques, but demonstrates some of their effects in some other excerpts from Beowulf.

  2. Middle English: some lyrics (September 18th)

    "Now goth sonne under wod" (13)
    "Sumer is icumen in" (13)
    "Fowles in the frith" (16)
    "I sing of a maiden" (63)
    "The Corpus Christi carol" (67)
    "Western wind" (68)

    If you'd like to consolidate your knowledge of the ME lyric, you might enjoy Daniel Ransom's article on "Lyric" in Medieval England: an encyclopedia, ed. Paul E. Szarmach, M. Teresa Tavormina, and Joel T. Rosenthal (New York: Garland, 1998), and following other links -- "Carol", "Sumer canon", etc. It's in the reference sections at the Robarts, Pratt (Victoria), Kelly (SMC) and PIMS libraries.

    Larkin, "The trees" (1548)
    Snyder, "Four poems for Robin" (1707) (probably no time, but read…)

    Unit 1: Stanza and Form. (for a few weeks)
    Read, reread: Stephen Adams, “Stanza and form”, chapter 3 of Poetic designs (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1997); on short-term loan , Robarts 3rd floor, PE 1505 A32. Even better than Adams for this topic is Paul Fussell, chapters 7 through 9 of Poetic Meter & Poetic Form, rev. ed. (New York: Random House, 1979); on short-term loan, PE 1505 F78. And for fun, John Hollander’s Rhyme’s reason: a guide to English verse, new enlarged edition (New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1989), PE 1505 H6 STL.

  3. Middle English: representations of women (September 25th)

    Chaucer, [the Nonne, ll 118-164], "The General Prologue", The Canterbury Tales (19-20)
    Chaucer, "To Rosamond" (52)
    Charles d'Orleans, "The smiling mouth" (62)
    From Pearl (55)

  4. The ballad tradition (October 2nd)

    New! "The Three Ravens" (86)
    "The Unquiet Grave" (88)
    "Mary Hamilton" (91)
    Keats, "La belle dame sans merci" (842)
    Randall, "Ballad of Birmingham" (1747)

  5. The sixteenth century: Petrarchism, Tottel's Miscellany (1557) (October 9th)

    Howard, "The soote season" (123)
    Howard, "Love, that doth reign and live within my thought" (123)
    Wyatt, "The long love, that in my thought doth harbor" (113)
    Wyatt, "They flee from me" (115)
    Wyatt, "My lute awake" (117)

    Interested in the social/courtly contexts of the Tudor lyric? Prof. Ray Siemens taught a course on the Tudor Lyric with very useful and interesting summaries of readings!

  6. The sixteenth century: Pastoral (October 16th)

    Skelton, from Colin Clout (76)
    Marlowe, "The passionate shepherd" (233)
    "The nymph's reply" (140)
    Sidney, "Ye goatherd gods" (188)
    Drayton, "A roundelay between two shepherds" (213)
    Spenser, "Prothalamion" (181)

  7. The sixteenth century: the sonnet sequence (October 23rd)

    Spenser, Amoretti 75 (169)
    Sidney, Astrophil and Stella 90 (199)
    Shakespeare, Sonnet 55 (and 65) (237)
    Spenser, Amoretti 15 (167)
    Sidney, Astrophil and Stella 71 (197)
    Shakespeare, Sonnet 130 (240)

    Unit 2: Figures of Speech (for another few weeks). Please read and reread chapter 4 of Adams, Poetic Designs (Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1997) –in class we’ll be looking for examples and effects of some of the specific figures.

  8. The seventeenth century: religion (October 30th)

    Shakespeare, Sonnet 146 (241)
    Donne, Holy Sonnet 5 (287)
    Herbert, "The flower" (342)
    Milton, "When I consider how my light is spent" (378)
    Marvell, "A dialogue between the soul and body" (434)

  9. The seventeenth century: love (November 6th)

    Herrick, "To the virgins, to make much of time" (320)
    Waller, "Song" (352)
    Marvell, "To his coy mistress" (435)
    Earl of Rochester, "Love and life" (509)
    Donne, Elegy XIX (281)
    Donne, "A valediction forbidding mourning" (275)
    Bradstreet, "A letter to her husband, absent upon public employment" (420)
    Cowley, "Platonic love" (428)

First essay due: November 13th

To be continued ... Unit 3 will cover Meter and Rhythm: again, the relevant chapters of Adams and Fussell ...