The point of our reading this semester is not to answer the poem, but to ask questions of it and to think through multiple possibilities of meaning and interpretation. We will focus not on the quantity read, but the quality of the reading.

  1. Read each poem aloud at least TWICE.
  2. After the first time, underline words and/or lines that stand out to you and jot down a personal response as to why these stuck out. 3-4 minute brainstorm/freewrite.
  3. Look up every word you are unsure of–don’t assume you know the meaning. Write down the definition next to word on the page.
  4. Read the poem aloud a second time–this is important! Don’t skip this step. Write down or annotate what you noticed the second time around that you didn’t catch the first. What seems weird or strange? Note your questions and confusions and write them down. The sounding of the lines is as important as the poetic verse and figurative language. What is an important problem/tension of the poem (problems can be formal ones and about meaning)? Poems will always have more than one; focus on what you are noticing.
  5. Make note of form of the poem: stanza, meter, rhyme, etc. What stands out? What seems weird or strange? Where do you see evidence for the problem you’ve written about in question 4?

2/3: PoemsTues23 & Ballad and the blues (just read the ballad part)

2/5: Walt Whitman “Song of Myself” I, II, VI & LII print from here: & read his BIO

2/10:  Poe-The-Raven & Poe BIO and take a look at the litgenius annotated version:

2/12: No class

2/17: DickinsonPoemsSpring2015  RobinEkissDickinsonPoetry

2/19: Dickinson poems included in document above

2/24: sample close reading 1

2/26: Close Reading Sample Paper 2 (optional)

3/10: If I Told Him Stein + Picasso

3/12: Langston Hughes Blues and Jazz

3/17: March 17 Poems (Whitman, Hughes, and McKay)

3/19: March 19 (Frank O’hara)

3/24-3/26: Print from here: Ginsberg “Howl”

3/31: Sylvia Plath & Adrienne Rich: Diving into the Wreck

4/14: Adrienne Rich & Audre Lorde: Lorde Poem + Bio Lorde Poetry is not a luxury Rich’s North-American-Time

4/16: Cha’s Dictee excerpt

4/21:  Language Poetry

4/23: Knight’s “Idea of Ancestry” & Smith Persona Poems

4/28: Rankine’s Citizen

4/30: Comparative Analysis Examples

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