Nick Williams

11:15a-12:30p TR (25 students) 3 cr. A&H, IW.

“Why would anyone write a poem?” “Why don’t poets just say what they mean?” These are just a couple of the questions frequently asked by people who find poetry an alien, incomprehensible thing. Rather than simply dismissing these questions out of hand, I hope that this “Introduction to Poetry” will help students come up with some answers. The course also seeks to show students that poetry is much more common in the world around them than they might have initially thought, from song lyrics to advertising slogans, from graffiti to jokes. Anytime anyone attempts to say something in which the way the thing is said is as important as what is being said, then the state of poetry is being approximated. We will be using a standard anthology of poetry (most likely the Norton Introduction to Poetry) as well as some single-author collections, contemporary and historic, to get a sense of the variety of the form. I’m also planning to order a CD from the group Fountains of Wayne to offer us the opportunity to apply ideas about poetic form to a work of popular culture. Student work will include a series of writing assignments, both creative and interpretive, and a mid-term and final.