Comparative Literature | The Lyric Poem
C515 | 25193 | Professor Herbert Marks

CMLT-C 515/25193
The Lyric Poem

Professor Herbert Marks   R 4:00-6:30

This is a practical course with emphasis on strategies of
interpretation.  Our primary concern will be the interplay between
literal and figurative uses of language:  when and how do poems mean
what they say, and when and how do they mean something else?  We
shall be looking at the ways poems are shaped, the ways they begin
and end, their reliance on cliché, their ambiguous status as both
private and public statements, and their relations to their
readers,to tradition, and to one another.  We’ll use a standard
anthology of poems in English (possibly the Norton), supplemented by
brief readings in classical and biblical poetry, in European poetry
(with opposite-face translations), and in such non-canonical forms
as nursery rhymes, national anthems, hymn, charms and oracles,
epigrams, and song lyrics.  A few essays about poetry, often by well
known poets, will help direct our discussion.  The course will
conclude by surveying the career of a single poet, possibly Hardy or

Written work:  brief weekly exercises and two short critical
essays.  (Graduate students will also be expected to write
a final paper.  There will also be a number of additional
sessions and assignments for graduates only in which the
focus will be on secondary literature and theory of the

*Meets with ENG-L 460 and CMLT-C 315*
*Fulfills A&H requirement for undergraduates*