CSCL 1914W: What is a Poem?

3 CreditsFreshman SeminarWriting Intensive

This is a course for people who love reading poetry as well as for people who would love to learn how to love reading poetry—and it should be much fun for both! We will examine some of the basic issues in the study of poetry, such as the changing meanings of the term “poetry,” the distinction between epic poetry and lyric poetry, the importance of the question of love for poetry, and so on. We will study a great variety of poems from different historical periods, literary traditions, and cultural contexts across the globe (including pop songs and music videos by contemporary singers and bands, some of which will be selected by the students). Above all, this is a course in close reading: we will study in detail how poems work, what it is that they do, and why. Ultimately, the question we will attempt to answer is why it is that poetry always has been and still continues to be one of the fundamental forms of human expression. To this purpose, we will discuss how to conduct literary analysis and students will have the opportunity to try their hand at literary criticism, i.e., by writing essays focused on one single poem. (This course fulfills the Writing Intensive requirement).

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B+ Average (3.352)Most Common: A (26%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

19 students
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  • 4.00


  • 4.56


  • 4.28


  • 4.28



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