English | Introduction to Poetry
L205 | 6999 | Catherine Bowman

Catherine Bowman

1:00p-2:15p TR (25 students) 3 cr. A&H, IW.

What is a poem? An easy question that is difficult to answer, like
trying to define a kiss.  Emily Dickinson wrote in a letter: “If I
feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that
is poetry.” William Carlos Williams believed a poem was a little
machine made out of words. Here’s Coleridge’s famous definition of
poetic imagination: “a repetition in the finite mind of the eternal
act of creation in the infinite I Am.” Robert Frost said poetry is a
wild tune, a necessary stay against confusion.  The ancient Greeks
believed poetry could only be written with the help of a divine
being. The ancient Celts believed poets were magicians and shamans,
singers of the tribal song. In this course we will explore the
various definitions of poetry and the various origins and modes of
poetry-making.  We will learn about literary terms, forms, craft and
prosody. We will develop ways to read, think and write about
poetry.  We will look carefully and closely at a wide selection of
poems developing vocabularies and strategies to express our
discoveries and to articulate our relationship with the poem. This
section is “writing intensive.”  There will be creative assignments,
critical papers, short assignments and exercises, pop quizzes, and