This course is a general introduction to poetry and poetics. The goals of the course are close reading of poetry, developing the student’s ability to ask questions which open poems to analysis, and writing lucid interpretive papers. This section of Studies in Poetry is organized around significant poetic traditions, from alliterative meter to iambic pentameter to free verse. We ask what it means for a poem to belong to a tradition, how traditions gain momentum, and why they endure or disappear.


Why poetry?
Tetrameter and ballad meter
Pentameter and the sonnet
Triple meters
Doggerel and multisyllabic rhymes
Alliterative meter
Free verse and sprung rhythm
Contemporary American lyric poetry

  1. Elizabeth Willis, Address
  2. Prageeta Sharma, Undergloom
  3. Ben Lerner, Angle of Yaw

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