English 1114: Poetry


Week 1-7: Love & Meaning

KEY — LL = Lyric link — = song (linked to YT version)

YT = Youtube video — WS = Worksheet

Texts in bold & black = texts to bring to class in hard-copy form

R = supplied readings (in PDFs or click week titles in dark green caps)

❧ = break between Tuesday and Thursday classes

TEXTS: Lyric Addresses; PDFs - Week 2-4 PDF & RomanceWeek 5-6 PDF

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On Tuesday we’ll look at the crucial pages — Introduction: How to Use This Site, Outline, Schedule, and Six Categories — as well as at a clip from Friends, and at Higher Learning. You don't have to do any pre-reading for the first week of class.

On Thursday we'll examine "At a Station of the Metro" (by Ezra Pound), LL "Tales of Brave Ulysses" (Cream — sample essay in Essays),  LL "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" (Death Cab for Cutie — sample essay in 5. Theme), and ♫ YT "Elephant Love Medley" (text and sample essay in Moulin Rouge!).

Before next Tuesday’s class, take a close look at the crucial Tuesday material and at Essay Structure, Marking, and Essays. Print out the texts in Readings Week 2-4 PDF and Readings Week 5-6 PDF, as well as the lyrics marked LL and hyperlinked in green in the schedule (also collected in Lyric Addresses). You'll need hard copies of these texts for the mid-term exam. Look at the instructions under Week 7 for rules on how much you can mark up the texts.

You may want to consult the open online Composition and Literature: A Handbook and Anthology, especially its helpful list of terms in Appendix A: Glossary of English Rhetoric, Grammar, and Usage and its Appendix B: Glossary of Literary Terms. Note that the information on this ryc.space site supersedes any information you may find on other sites or books. In general this isn’t an issue, yet it may be an issue when it comes to marks.


Love: Sun and Stars. WS Sonnet 116. Compare LL "Black Star" (Radiohead) to "Bright Star" (Keats - R). Compare LL "Black" (Pearl Jam),  LL "Back to Black" (Amy Winehouse ), and  LL "Paint It Black" (Rolling Stones).

Love: Highs and Lows. Compare LL "Beauty Queen" (Bryan Ferry), “A Love Song for Lucinda” (“Lucinda,” Hughes - R), and "somewhere" (e.e.. cummings - R). Q. How do the poets use natural settings and nature imagery, vertical metaphors of up and down, and colour? Compare LL “Insensitive’’ (Jann Arden) to LL “Pilgrim” (Sarah Slean) in terms of narrative progression, ambiguity, tone, and the physical sensations versus emotional states.


Dire Straits. How does Dylan use setting and imagery to depict psychological states in LL "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue"? (“Baby Blue”; cover versions:   ) — WS Ophelia — How does Shakespeare use nature imagery to depict Ophelia’s actions, state of mind, and possible motives in "Ophelia's Death" (R)? Compare Shakespeare’s tragic heroine to the protagonist in Natalie Merchant’s LL "Ophelia."

Overwhelmed. Compare “A Noiseless Patient Spider” (“Spider,” Whitman - R) to LL "Abattoir Blues" (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds) and  LL "Nature Boy" (Nick Cave). Compare how the poets are overwhelmed psychologically in YT LL "Swimming Pools (Drank)" (Kendrick Lamar) and “After Apple-Picking” (Robert Frost - R). What is natural and what is made by humans in the poems? What role do setting and imagery play in establishing their predicaments? What are the poets saying about human nature or about life?


Take-home Essay # 1 (15%) due at the start of class on Tuesday September 24. See the instructions below.

Given that your take-home essay is due at the start of the Tuesday class, I don't expect you to prepare — or to bring to class — anything but your essay. During class, we’ll look at WS Romance: Love X 3: “Love's Grief,” “Love at First Sight” & “What is a Youth?” (Dante, Shakespeare, & Rota/Walter) and Love & Grief: “You Are," “Yours,” & “They Come to See Me” (Cafe Tacuba, Rodrigo Amarante, & Ileana Cabra). You can find a PDF of these six texts in Romance PDF.

How do the poets use settings and images associated with time in order to seduce or persuade in "To His Coy Mistress" (Marvell - R) and  LL "No I in Threesome" (Interpol)? Compare the use of blunt or crude language in Morisette’s LL “You Oughta Know’’ and Brel’s R “Amsterdam”? How does Brel’s version differ from the LL “Port of Amsterdam” written by Shuman and sung by Bowie?  

Essay instructions

Write a scratch outline (maximum 150 words) and an essay (maximum 650 words) on one or two poems on the syllabus for week 2-6. Analyze the poem or poems in terms of one of the six categories. You can use the category in general (such as 1. space or 3. character) or you can use a sub-category (such as image or metaphor, which are sub-categories of 6. Style).

You can mention video versions briefly, yet make sure your analysis is squarely on the texts.

Late papers will be docked 5% per day  ❧ Essays must be typed, double spaced, using 12-14 point font  ❧ Include word counts for the outline and the essay  ❧ Put your name in the upper right hand corner  ❧ Put your scratch outline before your essay  ❧ Give your essay a title (it can be creative) ❧ Don’t use a cover page, paper clips, or folders; just staple the pages together ❧ Indent the first lines of paragraphs five spaces, or leave an extra space between paragraphs without indentation.

Please note that it’s an academic convention to assert your point or your argument without saying “I think” or “I believe.” Instead of writing, “I think the poet is saying…”, write, “The poet is saying…”. You can bring in your own personal experience if it’s relevant, yet in general write from an objective point of view. For more of these types of tips, see “Tips & Conventions” in Essay Structure.


Remember to follow the proper formats. See Essays and WS Sonnet 116 for scratch outlines, Essay Structure for essays, and Marking for quotes and italics. You may also want to take another look at these Douglas College library sites: — tutorial helpgrammar resources and handoutsPDF on the academic essay.

You’re not required to use other sources (articles, books, etc.). If you do, however, you must cite them according to MLA or APA format. For citation and bibliographical information, see Purdue University’s OWL (Online Writing Lab). Start at “Research and Citation” at https://owl.purdue.edu/owl/purdue_owl.html. You can find a Douglas College library PDF here on how to avoid plagiarism.

Remember that there’s no ‘right answer’ or single way to interpret literature. Poetry in particular tends to be ambiguous, that is, open to interpretation. Just make sure to 1) make an insightful, rigorous argument, and 2) prove your argument with reference to the text. 

Remember your audience: me. You can use abbreviated titles and you don’t need to supply any background information about the author or text. Just get to your argument. For example, I’ve previously used “Station” instead of “In a Station of the Metro,” and I’ve assumed dates, authors, and historical context. Again, get to your argument as quickly as possible.


No Exit. — "'Tis Not So Above" (from Hamlet - R) — LL "Hotel California" (The Eagles) — WS Ermita - "The Girl from Ermita" ("Ermita," Goh Poh Seng - R) Q. How do the poets depict the trpped state of their characters by using religion, morality, and spatial components such as location and verticality? How does Goh Poh Seng link his use of space to natural imagery (plants, animals, etc.)?

The Nature of Art & the Art of Nature. "The Mirror Up to Nature" (“Mirror,” Shakespeare, from Hamlet - R) — “Ben Nevis” (Keats - R) - “Anecdote of the Jar” (“Jar,” Stevens - R) — “Each and All” (Emerson - R). What are the poets saying about life, art, and meaning? How do they use nature and nature imagery to make their points?


Best Intentions.   LL "Lola" (The Kinks) — "Julia" (Byron, from Don Juan - R)

A True Romantic. Don Juan de Marcos (film shown in class). After the Byron text (in the Readings), you’ll find some Don Juan de Marco script excerpts (taken from this site). For the mid-term exam, you can bring in all of these excerpts, some of these excerpts, or your own selection of excerpts.

When you get your first essay back this week, you may need to consult Marking, which contains a list of marking abbreviations.


Mid-term exam: two in-class essays (25%), 160 minutes total. You will write the first essay on Tuesday October 15 (80 minutes) and the second essay on Thursday October 17 (80 minutes). You can NOT write on the text/s you used for your take-home essay.

Essay # 1

1. "Black Star" - "Black" - "Back to Black" - "Paint It Black" ❧❧❧ "Beauty Queen" - “Insensitive’’ - “Lucinda” - "somewhere" - “Pilgrim”

2. "Baby Blue" - "Ophelia's Death" - "Ophelia" ❧❧❧ "Abattoir Blues" - "Nature Boy" - "Swimming Pools (Drank)" - Love & Grief

3. "To His Coy Mistress" - "No I in Threesome" - “You Oughta Know’’ - "Hotel California" ❧❧❧ “Amsterdam” - “Port of Amsterdam” - "'Tis Not So Above" - "Ermita"

Essay #2

4. "Mirror" - “Ben Nevis” - “Jar” - “Spider” ❧❧❧ “Each and All” - “After Apple-Picking”

5. - Love X 3 - “Bright Star” - “Lola” ❧❧❧ “Julia” - Don Juan de Marcos

At the start of the exam, I’ll roll a dice to determine which number from 1-3 you’ll write your first essay on, and then which number from 4-5 you’ll write your second essay on. For each of the two essays you'll compare one or more of the items on the left side of the leaf marks with one or more of the items on the right side. For instance, if I roll 1 and then 5, you could compare "Black" to "Beauty Queen" and "Lola" to "Julia."

For Love & Grief and Love X 3 you can choose one, two, or all three texts.

Since the exam is meant to test coverage, write approximately the same amount for each of the two essays, and write approximately the same amount for items on both sides of the leaf marks. Remember that you need to make insightful points about the poems. Avoid picking too many poems and skimming over them. In many cases, it's better to focus on fewer poems, making deeper arguments with specific references to the texts.

The exam is open book, which means that you can consult hard copies (paper copies) of the texts. You can also bring in one maximum 150-word scratch outline for each essay (you must put a word count at the end of each outline). The outlines must conform to the standard scratch outline format: they must not have an introduction, the thesis statement must be no longer than one sentence, and each topic sentence must be no longer than one sentence.

You may not consult other course information, notes, electronic devices, dictionaries, or any other material. You can bring in whatever is in the Readings, but nothing from the worksheets (with the exception of the six texts in Romance PDF, which are from WS Romance).

You can put your outlines on one page if you want. Or, you can put them on four separate sheets of paper, which would allow you to make notes on the outlines during the exam. You can consult all four outlines, as well as all the texts, during the exam.

You may write brief notes in the margins of your texts — no more than 15 words per page — yet you may not write sentences or words that clearly link up into sentences. Blank sides of paper cannot contain notes, and type must be maximum 14-point font and no more than double-spaced (in other words, you can’t increase your margin notes by using more pages than necessary).

Students who don’t follow the rules will be penalized: in worst case scenarios they won’t be allowed to consult anything at all — including the texts of the poems themselves. Anyone caught copying another student, using other material, or consulting an electronic device will get 0% for the exam and may be reported to the Dean. If you’re waiting for a very important text or call, you must inform me before the exam starts.      


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Introduction - Contents - Outline

SCHEDULE: Week 1-7 - Week 8-14

Readings PDF: 2-4 - 5-6 - 8-10 - 11-13