English 223: Studies in Poetry (3 Credit Hours) Class Time: mwf 9: 00-9: 50AM

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English 223: Studies in Poetry (3 Credit Hours)

Class Time: MWF 9:00-9:50AM

Class Location: Professional School Building, Classroom 214

Class Website: http://english223poetry.weebly.com/

Caroline Schwenz

cschwen@emory.edu (preferred), carolline.schwenz@dillard.edu

Office Hours: Wednesdays, 10:00-12:00, Cook 149J
Course Description:
In this course, you will be exposed to a variety of poets from the English and American traditions. We will move through works by way of literary and poetic terminology in order to compare how different poets engage with a variety of stylistic and thematic issues. This course will articulate some of the historical and cultural issues occurring at the time when these poems were written. Through this course, you will develop a competency in the language of poetry, which will aid you in writing and speaking about it. Accordingly, you will demonstrate this competency through written and oral assignments as well as regular participation during class. We will read slowly, covering 10 pages of the textbook in each class period. However, many poems will require you to read them more than once.

Conceptual Framework for the Humanities

The Division of the Humanities comprises the branches of learning concerned with systems of thought based on the nature, dignity, interests, expressions, ideas and values of humankind. The field of the Humanities at Dillard University encompasses ancient philosophical foundations and such modern modes of inquiry as computer-based research and interdisciplinary projects. The study of the Humanities emphasizes creativity and critical thinking skills -- necessary attributes in academe and in the workplace.

Course Conceptual Framework:
This course is framed around the reading and study of Poetic literature with discussion. In addition, students will read and study scholarly critical articles of approaches and interpretations of Poetry through the textbook and as a part of their final project. For further study, then students will write short interpretations of works, and a longer research paper.


  • English 112

Course Outcomes:

  • Students will increase their knowledge of critical approaches of literary analysis and terms, time periods, the canon.

  • Students will learn to design an effective research plan

  • Students will think critically, conduct original research, and a compose literary argument

  • Students will use reliable resources and MLA style in writing academic papers about literature

Course Objectives:
Upon completion of English 223 students will:

  • Demonstrate in writing and reading an understanding of literary terms, time periods and poetic forms covered in this course

  • Have a deeper understanding of the poetry genre and critical inquiry through approaches used in English Studies

  • Demonstrate an understanding of explicit and implicit ideological values in critical inquiry and literary aesthetics practiced in the discipline

  • Develop a scholarly ethos through the appropriate use of MLA documentation in preparing academic papers and reports

Required Texts:

  • Arp, Thomas R. and Greg Johnson. Perrine’s Sound and Sense: An Introduction to Poetry, 14th Edition. 9781133307242

  • MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. 8th ed. New York: Modern Language Association, 2016. 9781603292627

There will be 6 poetry quizzes administered every 2 weeks. These quizzes will cover material from Sound and Sense, drawing heavily on the observations the class makes in the homework, notes generated by discussion leaders, and general comments during class time. All homework and group discussion notes will be shared in Blackboard, under the discussion section. As you are studying for your quizzes you are welcome to read what your classmates have written and discussed. This will help you figure out what will be on the quizzes. Quizzes will have multiple choice and fill in the blank questions as well as one short answer question. The quizzes are designed to help me assess if you are keeping up with the reading and engaging with the material. They are not intended to be difficult if you have kept up with the reading.
You will complete a homework assignment each week (except when major projects are due). All homework deadlines are listed in the syllabus. Homework will be graded on a +/ √/- scale. A check grade will mean that you passed the assignment but I want to see more from you. A “+” grade will signify excellent work. If you receive a “-“ then you should expect that you have to improve if you want to do well on larger assignments. Homework assignments should be 500 words in length.
Your homework will be an opportunity for you to practice your close reading and literary analysis skills. There will be three different kinds of homework assignments.

  1. close reading of a poem

  2. compare/contrast analysis of two poems

  3. personal response/reflection to a poem

3 of your homework assignments will be close readings, 3 compare/contrast analysis, and 3 a personal response/reflection on a poem. The last assignment is your choice. You can choose which kind of homework assignment you would like to complete for each week as long as you finish the term with the appropriate number of each type of assignment. An assignment sheet with more details will be posted on the class website.

Memorize, Perform and Interpret a Poem
Because poetry was for a long time (and still is strongly related today) to oral performance, you will be asked to memorize and perform a short poem. You may choose any poem in Sound and Sense that is not assigned as a part of our regular reading. If you would like to do a poem not included in our class textbook, you can discuss it with me. Your poem should be no longer than 3 stanzas (approximately 12-30 lines). This is not an assignment designed to intimidate but rather to help you internalize and understand the mechanics of a poem. After reciting the poem, you will have a week to submit a short (4-6 page) interpretation of the poem that is in conversation with your performance. In this essay you will articulate the performative choices you made and how they are influenced and informed by your reading of the poem. This reading should make use of the technical terminology we are practicing in the course while also commenting on content.
Leading Class Discussion
The class will divide into groups of 3 students. Each group will be responsible for leading one class discussion. Leading class discussion will require you to prepare notes on the readings for that week, questions to ask during class, and responses to those questions. Each group is responsible for creating a worksheet for the class to be posted online and given out in hard copy in class. Your group will meet with me the week prior to leading discussion to look over materials you are preparing and to answer any questions you have. Your notes and questions will be posted to Blackboard as a resource for the entire class. These notes will be particularly useful as preparation for quizzes and major assignments.
Patterns to Fashion a World: Glossing, Marking and Interpreting Poetry
In this final paper (5-7 pages) you will be asked to do 3 things:

  1. Turn in a gloss of a poem that we read this semester. The marginalia of this glossing should lead to about 2 pages of notes. When glossing, make sure to research important references and allusions you notice.

  2. Compose a proposal for your final paper, which articulates your argument, the evidence you intend to use, and 3 questions you have about your final paper. Your need to include 2-3 scholarly works in your final paper. Make sure these are included in your proposal.

  3. Your final paper (5-7 pages) argues for a particular interpretation of a poem of your choosing using evidence found in the poem, your textbook, and the 2-3 scholarly works you mentioned in your proposal.

Students are welcome as part of this final assignment to submit their work to the undergraduate research program essay contest. More information to follow during the semester regarding this opportunity.

Assignment Weights:





Memorized Poem Assignment


Leading Class Discussion


Final Essay




Refer to the Dillard University Grading scale in the catalogue

Final Grading Scale:

A (excellent) 100-90

B (very good) 89-80

C (competent/good) 79-70

D (needs work) 69-60

F (unacceptable) 59 and below
Student Evaluation:
All students will receive a mid-term review for the course; however, the mid-term grade is only an indication of progress in the course at that time and in no way reflects what the final grade will be. The mid-term grade may be higher or lower than the final grade depending on the number of assignments that have been received and evaluated by the professor at the time mid-term evaluations are due.

All students enrolled in ENG 223 must:

  1. Check email and BlackBoard daily.

  2. Professional decorum and dress is expected.

  3. Prepare for class and participate in class discussions.

  4. Complete assigned reading and writing.

  5. Attend class regularly and promptly; no more than three absences in a MWF or two absences in a Tues/Thurs. course are permitted. See full catalogue course policy.

  6. Participate fully in collaborative projects.

  7. Participate actively in the classroom by supplementing assigned readings with library resources and by contributing to lectures and class discussions.

  8. Type out-of-class papers on computers.

  9. Save all essays electronically.

  10. Respect other students in the class as well as the instructor.

  11. Use BlackBoard for instructional information and assessments.

Electronics Policy: Since all of our course materials are available in the class textbook, I expect that we will not need to use electronic devices in the classroom. If you have purchased an e-book version of Sound and Sense or require accommodation for a learning disability, we can discuss an individual electronics policy. However, misuse of electronics in the classroom will result in a decrease in your participation grade. Repeated violation of the electronics policy will result in a zero in participation and the inability for a student to receive an A in the course. This policy includes the use of computers, cell phones or tablets.
Attendance and Participation Policy:

Role will be taken within the first few minutes of class. Students are permitted three excused or unexcused absence during a semester without substantial penalty. Official absence excusal forms, obtained and completed at the Office of Academic Affairs, must be handed in to have an absence excused. A student may incur an excused absence under the following documented circumstances: 1. Illness or hospitalization; 2. Death of a parent, sibling, or grandparent; 3. official University business (choir, athletics, etc); 4. A legal matter. ONLY when the absence is excused can a student submit missed assignments; the assignments and due dates must be contractually arranged with the instructor, the date no later than the end of the semester. If it is apparent that the classwork cannot be successfully completed prior to the end of the semester, it is recommended that the student withdraw from the class if possible to avoid the risk of failure.

Tardiness on any class day, coming to class 20 minutes late or later, will constitute one tardy; two tardies constitute an absence (for example, coming to class 20 minutes late four times would equal two absences). The impact of absences on student grades is as follows: After three absences total (whether excused or not), a grade penalty applies.
For absences beyond the allotted 3 (that’s 4 or more), students will lose half a letter grade per absence: that is 5 total percentage points of the total final grade; so a 70 average final grade would go down to a 65 if a student had four absences). Students, in other words, should not have more than three absences, whether they are excused or not. Getting a single absence (or anywhere from 1-3) absences officially excused (through the method described above, beginning with the official form) gives the student the potential opportunity to make up work (after meeting with the instructor to draw up a contract).

Late Work: My late work policy is strict. All work will be due on a given date at the beginning of class. Work turned in after that time will be penalized a letter grade for every missed day including the day it was due. Therefore, the penalty begins immediately. Students who rush into class at the end of the period with a paper hot off the press will still suffer this penalty! In other words, do not miss class to finish a last–minute research paper.
Academic Integrity: As students of Dillard University, you agree to adhere to the honor code which asks that we respect the integrity of the institution, faculty, and students. This means that you agree not to plagiarize, cheat on your work, or disrespect your classmates or myself. In turn, I agree to respect each of you, treating you with compassion and fairness. This goes without saying but I want each student to feel safe and respected in our classroom space. Lets all work together toward that common goal.
Accommodations and Resources:
Disabilities Services Statement

All requests for accommodations must be submitted to the Office of Disability Services. Requests for accommodations must be in writing on the appropriate form(s) and with the appropriate supporting documentation for consideration and/or review (documentation must be dated within three (3) years of request). The review of the request may, at the discretion of the university, include an evaluation and determination of the scope of the disability and, if appropriate, request for additional medical documentation, examinations and/or opinions in accordance with applicable laws and regulations. In order to request program services, please feel free to contact Dr. Kevin J. Bastian, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Support Services, Dent Hall 110, 504-816- 4714, kbastian@dillard.edu.

Disaster Policy Statement

In the event of disaster, the Dillard University Preparedness Plan will take priority over the timeline in this syllabus. The summary of key points for the plan is available on the university website and by printed literature.

Dillard Writing Center
At the writing center, students attend 30-minute writing consultation with peer consultants. The 30-minute writing consultation can take place at any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming to final editing. It involves a consultant asking the writer open-ended questions about his-.her writing assignment, reading a portion or the entire paper, responding to the paper by picking one or two concerns to discuss, and collaborating with the writer on how the writing may be improved. Consultations are non-judgmental and non-evaluative. Consultants help writers identify areas to improve and develop specific plans to help the writer with his/her writing project. For more information visit the Writing Center in Albert W. Dent Hall, Room 162, call 504-816-4180 or email the director, Danielle R. Tyler @ dtyler@dillard.edu. Hours are Monday-Friday 8:00AM-5:00PM.
Class Schedule:


Monday, August 22


Wednesday, August 24

Read “What is Poetry?” (2-10), “The Bean Eaters” (13)

Friday, August 26 END OF DROP/ADD

Read “Reading the Poem” (21-30), “Mirror” (37)


Monday, August 29

Read “Denotation and Connotation” (42-48), “Discourse on the Logic of Language” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=424yF9eqBsE)

Wednesday, August 31

Homework due @ midnight, “Writing About Poetry” (289-292), “Accounting” (50), “35/10” (51)

Friday, September 2 CLASS ROSTER DUE

QUIZ 1, in class reading: “The Red Wheelbarrow” (13), “Main Character” (329)



Monday, Sept. 5 LABOR DAY


Wednesday, Sept. 7

Read “Figurative Language I” (68-77),

Friday, Sept. 9

Homework due @ midnight, “Read “Choosing a Topic” (292-296), “Tonight” (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/resources/learning/core-poems/detail/51652 - poem)


Monday, Sept. 12

Figurative Language II” (85-96), “Sugar Cane” (http://www.poetryarchive.org/poem/sugar-cane)

Wednesday, Sept. 14

Homework due @ midnight, Read “Proving Your Point” (296-298), “To His Coy Mistress” (83-84)

Friday, Sept. 16

QUIZ 2, “Pink Dog” (97)


Monday, Sept. 19

Figurative Language III” (111-121)

Wednesday, Sept. 21

Homework due @ midnight, Read “Writing the Paper” (298), “Waiting for Thelma’s Laugh” (http://iamshirley.livejournal.com/9789.html)

Friday, Sept. 23

My Last Duchess” (127)


Monday, Sept. 26

Read “Imagery” (54-57), “I Felt a Funeral in My Brain” (59-60)

Wednesday, Sept. 28

Homework due @ midnight, Read “Allusion” (129-133), “in Just—“ (134)

Friday, Sept. 30

QUIZ 3, “Living in Sin” (60-61), “Those Winter Sundays” (63)



Monday, Oct. 3

Meaning and Idea” (142-146),

Wednesday, Oct. 5

Read “Tone” (155-162), Read “Introducing Quotations” (300-306)

Friday, Oct. 7

Midterm Memorization Assignment Performance Day


Monday, Oct. 10

Read “Musical Devices” (173-180)

Wednesday, Oct. 12

Read “Documentation” (306-311), “Woman Work” (182)

Friday, Oct. 14

Midterm Memorization Essay Due, in class, “History Lesson” (167)



Read “Pattern” (233-240)

Wednesday, Oct. 19

Homework due @ midnight, Read “Documentation (311-314), “Mad Girl’s Love Song” (242), “The Folly of Being Comforted” (244)

Friday, Oct. 21

The White City” (245)


Monday, Oct. 24

Read “Rhythm and Meter” (190-195), “The Second Coming” (404)

Wednesday, Oct. 26

Homework due @midnight, Read “Rhythm and Meter” (195-205), “Kentucky, 1833” (152), “Yet Do I Marvel” (343)

Friday, Oct. 28

Read “Stance and Style” (314), “Porphyria’s Lover” (210), “Break, Break, Break” (212)



Monday, Oct. 31

Read “Sound and Meter” (215-225)

Wednesday, Nov. 2

Homework due @ midnight, Read “Grammar, Punctuation and Usage” (317-320), “Landcrab” (226-227)


QUIZ 4, “The Sound of Night” (229)


Monday, Nov. 7 SPRING REG

Read “Evaluating Poetry I” (251-254), “Lower New York: At Dawn” (256), “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802” (256-257)

Wednesday, Nov. 9

Homework due @ midnight, Read “Writing Sample” (322-325), “We play at Paste—“, “If I can stop one Heart from breaking’ (259)

Friday, Nov. 11

Persephone, Falling” (348), “Miscegenation” (399)


Monday, Nov. 14

Evaluating Poetry II” (261-271)

Wednesday, Nov. 16

Homework due @ midnight, Read “Writing Sample” (325-326), “The Fish” (283)

Friday, Nov. 18

QUIZ 5, “The Weary Blues” (282-283)


Monday, Nov. 21

Gloss and Proposal Due

Wednesday Nov. 23


Friday, Nov. 25




Monday, Nov. 28

“Still I Rise” (https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/still-i-rise), “Good Times” (336-337)

Wednesday, Nov. 30, QUIZ 6

Tupac “Untitled 1,” “Untitled 2” (http://www.csun.edu/~kcj39325/tupacpoem.html)

Friday, Dec. 2 LAST DAY OF CLASS

Revised Proposal Due



Thursday, Dec. 9

Final Paper Due

Saturday, Dec. 10

Last Day to Turn in Work

Monday, Dec. 12

Final Grades Due

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