English 440: Studies in Verse -- Winter 1999

Mon, Tu, Wed, Thur at 12:00 to 12:50 in 3301 Brown and the Mac lab (1109 Brown)

Final Exam: -- Tuesday April 20 at 2:45-4:45
Name:Seamus [pronounced "Shay-muss"] Cooney
Office:917 Sprau
Office hours:Mon., Tues., & Wed., 9-11:30 and by appointment or drop in.
Required texts: The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 4th edition (complete--not "shorter")
A good hardbound full size college dictionary

ATTENDANCE POLICY: Attendance is required. Absences will lower your grade.

PLAGIARISM POLICY: Plagiarism (the unacknowledged use of other people's words or ideas as though they were your own) is a serious offence against the ethics of study and scholarship. If you plagiarize you will get an "E" in the course, not just for the piece of work involved.

WORK EXPECTED: Apart from attendance at and participation in the class meetings, each student will:

(a) Offer two oral reports in collaboration with the other students in your group -- schedule to be announced. The first will be on a poet prior to 1900, the second on a later poet. Your task as a group will be to focus attention on some representative poems printed in our anthology and through questions and discussion lead the class to appreciate their qualities.

(b) Write three papers of five to eight typed pages on an assigned poem or poems. These papers will be due on 9/28, 10/28, and 11-30, respectively. The first two papers may be rewritten to improve the grade after talking with me; rewrites will be due 10 days after the paper is returned.

The qualities I expect in your written work are:

  1. basic literacy and clarity of expression (papers with serious grammatical errors will be given an F for form, however good the content, resulting in at best a split grade to be averaged later unless the paper is rewritten);
  2. accuracy in referring to and quoting from the poem you're discussing (serious inaccuracies in quoting will disqualify the paper from further consideration); so develop the habit of double-checking all quotations;
  3. attention to specifics of the poem or poems as opposed to generalities about the author, poetry, or life in general;
  4. an account, based on the evidence of the text, of your personal reactions to the poem in all its aspects -- meaning, form, imagery, etc. These matters will, of course, become clearer after class discussions.
For further discussion of how to write good papers, see my web pages on Writing Papers of Literary Analysis

Note: This is a writing intensive course.
One of its aims is to develop your writing abilities to meet the baccalaureate writing requirement.

(c) Participate regularly in classroom discussions and group work, and in the on-line class exercises and discussion on Confer. In Confer you should read what others write and respond to it constructively when you have a different point to make. With experience you will see that the most profitable discussion is the most specific.

(d) I want you to memorize at least four of the poems we study, and both exams will ask you write out poems you've got by heart. Additionally, the exams will place a heavy premium on memory work in that you will be required to identify by author and title short extracts from poems we have spent time on.

GRADING: I will assign a grade for each paper and for the midterm and final exams, with each grade counting for one-fifth of the total.

The other work I will mark as credit/no credit, in an effort to get you to do your best work without always worrying about grades. Good work in the groups, in Confer, etc. will pay off in good papers so I need not mark each piece in grade terms.

COMPUTER RESOURCES: As you see, for a substantial part of the course you are expected to be able to use the computer.