Thursday, December 27, 2012



Spring Semester 2013
Instructor: Joshua Ware, Ph.D.
T/R: 6PM-7:15PM
Room: TBD

Course Description:

More often than not, contemporary society views poetry as a strange and dated art form. When the genre actually does receive recognition, it is usually under the guise of Hip-Hop or Slam Poetry. While both of those offshoots contain their own poetic and artistic merits, this course intends to familiarize you with contemporary literary poetry. But more than just acquainting you with this style of writing, our course will highlight the large and dynamic poetry community of Ohio. Luckily for us, many of the poets we will read during the course agreed to visit our class this semester to talk about their work and read their poems.

But in addition to demonstrating that poetry is alive, well, and thriving in the world today, we will attempt to answer some of the following questions: Why do poetic texts, both of the present and the past, seem so difficult to read and understand? What writing techniques, strategies, and styles do poets use that make comprehending their work such a challenge? More importantly, why would anyone choose to write in this manner? Through close reading of our primary texts, researching the historical and literary contexts surrounding contemporary poetry, and discussing the art form with each other (as well as with the poets themselves), we will come to a better understanding of how these texts function.

To this extent, our course will explore the local and national poetry communities, noting how writers found relationships upon geography, aesthetics, and demographics (just to name a few), using written texts to express emotion, thought, or identity. In order to accomplish these goals, we will read, participate in class discussions, and write extensively about poetry composed by contemporary Ohio poets. Therefore, you will be expected to engage our course texts critically, thinking through the manner in which language operates as a tool for generating and sustaining, as well as undermining, community formation.

Course Texts:

Before we read books of contemporary poetry, it is important for us to read books about poetry so as to give us a sense of what is poetry, what linguistic tools contemporary poems use to achieve their goals, and how poetry functions within the context of contemporary culture. As such, the first book we will read for this course should provide us, to some extent, with a few answers:

Longenbach. James. The Resistance to Poetry. Chicago, IL: The University of Chicago Press, 2004.

Once we gain some understanding of the discourse, its aesthetic trends, and the context surrounding both, we will read recent books by poets living and writing in Ohio. They are as follows:

Biddinger, Mary. O Holy Insurgency. Aspinwll, PA: Black Lawrence Press, 2013. (Akron)
Giampietro, Frank. Begin Anywhere. Farmington, ME: Alice James Books, 2008. (Cleveland)
Gridley, Sarah. Loom. Richmond, CA: Omnidawn Publishing, 2013. (Cleveland)
Metres, Phil. Abu Ghraib Arias. Denver, CO: Flying Guillotine Press, 2012. (Cleveland)
Wagner, Cathy. Nervous Device. San Francisco, CA: City Lights Publishers, 2012. (Cincinnati)
Ward, Dana. This Can't Be Life. Washington, DC: Edge Books, 2012. (Cincinnati)

Additionally, I will provide you with a variety of handouts and reading packets that will supplement our core readings; these will be uploaded to Blackboard, so you will need to have computer access and minimal competency with CWRU’s content management system. If I assign handouts, please print them up and bring them to the class session in which we will be using them.

Finally, everyone should purchase a writer's handbook that contains an updated version of the current MLA citation standards. As there are a plethora of such handbooks available, I will leave the selection of what text you choose up to you. The most thorough and complete guide is cited below:

Modern Language Association. MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 7th ed. New York, NY: Modern Language Association of America, 2009.


As with all courses in the SAGES program, our seminar will be writing intensive. Our discussions, readings, and in-class visits from poets will all contribute directly to your final 10-12 page research essay due at the end of the semester. Along the way, you will compose eight, two-page response papers to our course texts, as well as a thorough, five-page research proposal that clearly demonstrates the topic, trajectory, and goals of your research for your final essay. I will provide specific guidelines for each assignment a few weeks before they are due, but the list below contains individual point distributions and due dates:

Response Papers (6): 30 points, assigned weekly.
Author Questions (written and asked) (6): 10 points, assigned per reading
Quizzes (5): 5 points
Research Proposal: 20 points, 07 March 2013.
Final Research Paper: 35 points, 02 May 2013.

Additionally, you will create three questions for each author after reading their collection. You will be expected to ask the authors at least two questions over the course of the semester during the Q&A segments that follow the readings. Attendance at all readings is mandatory.


You must do your own original work in this course and appropriately identify that portion of your work which you collaborated on or borrowed from others. Whenever you quote passages or use ideas from others, you are legally and ethically obligated to acknowledge that use, following appropriate conventions for documenting sources. If you have doubts about whether or not you are using writing ethically and legally, ask me. Follow this primary principle: Be up front and honest about what you are doing and about what you have contributed to a project. If I suspect plagiarism, I will discuss the incident privately with the student before issuing any penalties. Penalties for plagiarism will depend on the nature of the assignment. The list below more fully describes what constitutes plagiarism:

1) Word-for-word copying of another person’s ideas or words.
2) The mosaic: interspersing one’s own words here and there while copying another’s work.
3) The paraphrase: rewriting of another’s work, yet still using their fundamental idea or theory.
4) Fabrication: inventing or counterfeiting sources.
5) Submission of another’s work as one’s own.
6) Neglecting quotation marks on material that is otherwise acknowledged.

Acknowledgment is not necessary when the material used is common knowledge.

Code of Conduct:

All members of the course must commit to creating a place of study where everyone is treated with respect and courtesy. Everyone must share in the commitment to protect the integrity, rights, and personal safety of each member of the classroom and virtual community. This includes helpful, yet courteous, discussion of individual and group writing projects. Additionally, make sure cell phones, pagers, and any other similar electronic instruments are turned off when in class. These devices are not conducive to a learning environment and will be treated as such.

Class Schedule:

What follows is a tentative schedule for our class sessions this semester. Please prepare accordingly, but be aware that details are subject to change based upon how the semester proceeds.

Tuesday, 15 January 2013
Syllabus and Introductions
Thursday, 17 January 2013
Longenbach 1-25 & poems
Discuss readings & quiz
Tuesday, 22 January 2013
Longenbach 26-49 & poems
Discuss readings & quiz
Thursday, 24 January 2013
Longenbach 50-71 & poems
Discuss readings & quiz
Tuesday, 29 January 2013
Longenbach 72-83 & poems
Discuss readings & quiz
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Longenbach 84-108 & poems
Discuss readings & quiz
Tuesday, 05 February 2013

Thursday, 07 February 2013

Tuesday, 12 February 2013
Biddinger: Q1 & R1 due
Discuss response & reading
Thursday, 14 February 2013

Poet reading
Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Tuesday, 26 February 2013
Metres: Q2 & R2 due
Discuss response & reading
Thursday, 28 February 2013

Poet reading
Tuesday, 05 March 2013

Thursday, 07 March 2013

Tuesday, 12 March 2013
Thursday, 14 March 2013
Tuesday, 19 March 2013
Giampietro: Q3 & R3 due
Discuss response & reading
Thursday, 21 March 2013

Poet reading
Tuesday, 26 March 2013
Ward: Q4 & R4 due
Discuss response& reading
Thursday, 28 March 2013

Poet reading
Tuesday, 02 April 2013
Wagner: Q5 & R5 due
Discuss response & reading
Thursday, 04 April 2013

Poet reading
Tuesday, 09 April 2013

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Gridley: Q6 & R6 due
Discuss response & reading
Thursday, 18 April 2013

Poet reading
Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Thursday, 25 April 2013


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