Introduction to Poetry

L205 — Spring 2019

Nikki Skillman
Days and Times
1:00 - 2:15p MW
Course Description

In this course we will explore the special linguistic strategies poets use to render the most invisible dimensions of human experience available to others, tracing how poems work upon the senses, how they sharpen our awareness by making the familiar strange and the strange familiar, how they seduce us by "resisting the intelligence," Wallace Stevens writes, "almost successfully." As we range widely across the long history of poetry in English, we'll survey varieties of poetic form and ask how the attitudes, values and judgments of individuals and social groups find distinctive expression in poetic form. Over the course of the semester you will amass a critical vocabulary for describing individual poems and for defending your own literary tastes, and will learn to draw on this vocabulary to support elegant analytical arguments about how poems produce meaning and why.