English 522: Modernism in American Literature--Modern Poetry
Dr. Richard Ruppel: Department of English

Updated April 25, 2007


Office:  218 Wilkinson Hall
Meetings: Thursday, 4-6:50PM, Beckman 205
(714) 997-6754 (Office)  (714) 923-9545 (Home)
E-Mail: ruppel@chapman.edu
Office Hours:
Monday, 9-11am; Tuesday, 10-11am; Wednesday, 1-2pm, & by appointment.

Course description and objectives: The English poetry of the 20th century is rich, varied, and challenging. With the help of 19th century innovators such as Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman, poets freed themselves from the formal constraints of regular meter and rhyme and forced themselves to redefine the genre, a process that continues with each new poet. Throughout this semester, we will develop an extended definition of the poetry of the last century as we read a selection of authors, beginning with the early modernist, Emily Dickinson, and ending with the poets who wrote into the middle of the last century. Along the way, we'll explore the craft of poetry as well as its familiar themes: love, the self, grief, joy, nature, community, sex, death, and all the rest. By the end, I hope we will all be more receptive to the strange and often beautiful music of the 20th century made by its poets.

This course will have a computer component. The syllabus will be updated on our Web page, where I will also post assignments & useful Web links.  And we'll make use of Blackboard. 

Course Objectives: 

Text: The Norton Anthology of Modern & Contemporary Poetry, 3rd edition.


February 1:  Introduction. Readings, & Dickinson
February 8:  Dickinson
February 15:  Dickinson & Whitman
February 22:  Hopkins & Yeats
March 1: Yeats 
March 8:  Yeats & Frost  (First paper due - 6-8 pages) 
March 15:  Stevens
March 22:  Pound
March 29: Midterm (take-home) 
April 12:  Williams
April 19:  Eliot  
April 26:  Eliot  
May 3:  Cummings, Bishop
May 10:  Final words, second essay due, course evaluations, preparation for the final
May 17:  Final Exam, 4:15-6:45pm. 

*The syllabus will change through the semester, based on our pace and your input.  Watch this space. 

 Papers and Other Requirements

Attendance: Missing more than one class will affect your grade, so be sure to attend. 

Papers & Presentations: Your papers will be on a poet in our anthology, or a group of poems by more than one poet in our anthology. For the second essay, you may decide to give a five-minute oral presentation on that poet before the paper is due, and you may wish to make the presentation with 1 or 2 other students.   Provide a brief introduction to the poet and a reading of one poem, pointing out interesting features of the poem and closing with time for questions from your audience.

Papers must be typed and double spaced - 6-8 pp. for the first, 10-12 pp. for the second (8-10 if you choose to make a presentation). Please submit them electronically, in MSWord.  Unexcused late essays will be lowered one grade per week.

Grades: Papers: 20 & 25%. Midterm: 15%. Final: 25%. Participation: 15% (this will include your assignments & presentations).

Disabilities: If you have a disability, see me during the first week in class so that we can work out a way to accommodate you.

Plagiarism: I will not tolerate plagiarism in my class. We will discuss the rules of documentation before the first essay is due. If you have any questions about what constitutes plagiarism, ask me.  You might also check out a fine Web page devoted to the subject by Sharon Williams at Hamilton College.

Web Pages:

Excellent glossary of poetic terms (University of Toronto).
Useful discussion of poetic meter created by Br. George Klawitter. 
Online Journal and Multimedia Companion to Anthology of Modern American Poetry - from the University of Illinois.
Extended definition of an explication - from UNC Chapel Hill
Extended discussion of the Symbolist Movement - From Textetc.com
Image of Maud Gonne


February 8:
 Read all the Dickinson poems in the anthology.  Write one response to the discussion board question in Blackboard on Dickinson.  And write one response to one of your colleague's responses. 
February 15:  Read all the Whitman poems collected in the anthology, and write one response to the discussion board question in Blackboard on Whitman.  Write one response to one of your colleague's responses. 
February 22:  Read all the Gerard Manley Hopkins poems in the anthology, and read the Yeats poems through page 118 (from "To the Rose upon the Rood of Time" to "Leda and the Swan."  Write one response to the discussion board question in Blackboard on either poet, and write one response to one of your colleague's responses.
March 1:  Finish reading the Yeats poems, and respond on the discussion board as you have in the past. 
March 8:  Read the Frost section - 201-225.  Be sure to send me a description of your project.  Submit your first essay electronically. 
March 15:  Read the Wallace Stevens section - 235-267 - and respond to the discussion board. 
March 22:  Read the Ezra Pound section - 345-387 - and respond to the discussion board. 
March 29:  Respond to the midterm question in Blackboard - it's posted in the Documents section. 
April 12:  Read the William Carlos Williams section - 283-317 - and respond to the discussion board. 
April 19:  Read the T. S. Eliot section - 460-495 - and respond to the discussion board. 
April 26:  Bring in your ideas for the second essay. 
May 3:  Read the  e.e. cummings - 545-556 - and Elizabeth Bishop (Vol. 2, 15-44) sections; respond (last time) to the discussion board. 

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