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English 14: Introduction to Poetry Stephen Cramer

Spring 2010

Monday 4:05-7:05, Lafayette L102
Office: 322 Old Mill
Office hours: Monday 2-4

Course Description:
This class, as an introduction to the art of poetry, meets at the intersection of the aesthetic and the
technical. Because of this, students will discover not just whether they like or dislike a poem but why it is
(or is not) effective. Students will leave this course with a greater capacity to experience and express their
ideas about poetry.
This class will explore various styles and forms of poetry. Students are expected to read assigned essays
and poems, to bring them in marked and annotated, and to be ready to talk intelligently about them.
Readings will serve as points of departure for discussions on craft.
We learn by reading masters of the art. Students are urged to go to readings and to read as much as they
can outside class. They should not hesitate to ask for reading suggestions.

Evaluation Criteria:

Class Participation: 20%

Attendance is required in both body and spirit. This class is a dialogue, not a one-way lecture. Students
are expected to have something intelligent (even mind-blowing) to say if called upon. Be prepared.
Journals are not required, but if kept, they can be a good place to formulate thoughts to bring up in
class. Because of this, they can help students to boost class participation grades.
What should a student who does not participate in class expect for a grade? The hopeful may think a
“B” or a “C.” Lack of participation will result in a failing grade for this section of the class.

Quizzes: 20%
Students should expect periodic quizzes on the readings and discussions.

Tests: 30%
There will be two tests during the semester.

Essays: 30%

Students will complete two essays during the course of the semester:
--a four page paper which compares two poems
--a five page paper about a poet and her work. (When you come across a poet whose work speaks to you
this semester, delve into more of that writer’s work to see if he or she might be the source of an interesting
paper for you.)
NOTE: The deadlines are absolute. A letter grade will be detracted for every day a paper is late.

Attendance Policy:
This class is a group effort. We learn from each other’s insights as well as from the readings and
assignments. Because of this, absences and tardiness will affect the student’s final grade.
If you know you’re going to be out, get your work in early, not late. If you miss a class, you are
responsible for obtaining clarity on what was covered in class, and for obtaining the next assignment. (Call
a colleague.) Missing one class and coming unprepared to the next is not acceptable.

A note on plagiarism: Plagiarism is a serious offense. It will result in a failing grade and possible expulsion
from the University of Vermont.

Required Books:
An Introduction to Poetry, X.J. Kennedy, Dana Gioia