Saturday, September 19, 2009

Due Wed. 9/23 and Tuesday 9/29

REMINDER: bring the Hoover anthology to class on 9/29.

There is no class on the 28th, 'cause it's Yom Kippur. So, we have class at the usual time and place on Tuesday 9/29. This is weird, so I'll remind everyone in class.

Our reading theme for the reading week beginning Wednesday the 23rd is the poetry of resistance or rebellion. Of course, many poets, including Wordsworth, are "rebellious" in some sense - in their form, subject matter, ideas about poetry, social ideas etc. All great poetry is rebellious in a certain way, and I'd even go far as to say that the intensity of poetry, its concentrated intelligence, is the ultimate rebellion in our own time. Poetry requires a lot of the faculty we have less and less of: attentiveness and concentration.

So, how are these poets different? Simply that they foreground their rebellious statement so that it's right on the surface. This kind of poetry is very unusual in the history of poetry in English. What makes it strange is that it has relatively little philosophical content, spiritual stuff, pseudo-religious stuff...

Now, for your writing on (for 9/23) Rochester, Swift, Marvell, and Donne (on blackboard - resources) (all poets of the late 17th - early 18th centuries in England). Pick one poem from each poet on which to focus. Remember that, whether you like the poem or not, it has had generations of admiring readers. In other words, it works... for somebody or for many people. See, what you, as a writer, can take away from these poets: how does their poetry work? Is the poet's "voice" important? Is it humor or irony? Figure it out so you can try it in your own writing. Read the piece on prosody (poetic rhythm) and apply it to your answer. For 9/29. Read Ginsberg, Baraka, Corso, Bukowski (all poems in the anthology). These are all 20th century poets associated with the American "Beat" generation. Mainly, they reached their peak of fame in the '50s and '60s. Focus on Ginsberg's juxtaposition of words; Corso's use of voice; Bukowski's use of story elements; and Baraka's use of the poetic line.Include one question about each poet (i.e. 5 total). Make it about a specific line or passage: technique, imagery, word choice, what the poet intended or what the heck it means - whatever. I'll collect responses in the beginning of class on Tuesday.

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