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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Pimone E Triplett
ENGL 581
Seattle Campus

The Creative Writer as Critical Reader

Class description

The class is called The Poetics of Excess. By "excess" I have in mind Keats' notion that of poetry should surprise by a fine excess, that we should load all our rifts with ore. In light of this demand, we'll look at musicality in poetry beyond the traditional formal dimension toward developing an ear for sonic texture, word bindings, verbal virtuosity, innovative syntax, and disproportion in general rather than balance. Lots of mermaids, griffins and flying snakes, as Horace would have it. Craft issues will include all manner of the "wordrich" (Hopkins): patterns of assonance, consonance, alliteration, fragment and syntax, tone and the image, metaphor and figure. We'll cover (at least) Stevens, the apocalyptic, lesser known Roethke, Moore, Berryman, Graham, Hopkins, Eliot, Robert Hayden and others.

Each class period will be devoted to several extended, extremely close readings. Strongly recommended additional reading will be suggested to add breadth to the students’ knowledge of each author, but depth of analysis with a writer’s muscles in mind will be the goal of our limited class time.

Written assignments will include 2 creative responses (poems) with revisions, and a brief critical paper (5-10 pages) due at the end of the term. In addition, we may engage in shorter journal-like prose responses to the in-class readings, to be done prior to our meetings, and in-class presentations of close readings by students.

Books are to be purchased from Open Books. Standard collected works by each major writer will be fine in most cases, and so library copies will suffice also (though as a practicing poet, you probably should own say, a collected Hopkins or Stevens, etc.). Individual poems not included in collected volumes but still of interest will be provided in the form of handouts from the professor.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Pimone E Triplett
Date: 03/04/2007