Spring 2013 Undergraduate English Courses

350:338 Twentieth Century Poetry II

01  MW4 CAC 55759  RONDA   MU-114

In this course, we will read a wide variety of American and British poetry from post-WWII up to the present. Our main task will be to familiarize ourselves with the great poetic traditions of this period—the New York School, the Beats, the Black Arts Movement, the Confessionals, and Language Poetry—and its key authors. We’ll think  about the anxieties of influence and the grand permissions that the modernist poets—many of whom are still writing major works well into the 1960s and 1970s—inspire in the generations that follow. A broad preoccupation of our course, then, will be to consider the complex relationship between modernist and postmodern poetries and to develop a historically nuanced account of their differences. To do so, we will be thinking carefully about the distinctive political commitments, cultural logics, and formal and rhetorical strategies that motivate the poetries of this period. How can we understand poetry as a cultural form, responsive to and reimagining other possibilities for the political, social, historical life of its moment? To offer preliminary answers to this question, we’ll focus sustained attention on the ways poetry imaginatively reflects on two historical contexts—equality movements (racial, gender, queer) and the changing dynamics of capitalist production. 

Course work will include informal weekly writings, two formal papers, and a final exam.