The following is a draft only. The final version will be ready by the first day of class.

English 1114: Poetry



YT = Youtube video = song (hyperlinked to YT version)

LL = Lyric link (hyperlinked to text)

YT ♫ = video which you can analyze along with text & audio

Supplied Readings = readings you don’t need to download; they’re in “Readings” in the site index (or you can click the week below in dark green caps)

Texts in bold & black = texts to bring to class in hard-copy form. I don't allow the use of electronic devices in class. 

I suggest that in the first week of class you 1) print Readings: Weeks 2-4 and Readings: Weeks 5-6, and 2) find on the Net and print out the lyrics preceded by ♫ and hyperlinked. You'll need hard copies of the texts for the mid-term and final exams, which are open book. Look at the instructions under Week 7 for rules on how much you can mark up the texts.

Love & Meaning


Introduction. I don't expect you to have anything prepared for the first class. After a quick overview of the course site (including the Six Categories and Higher Learning), we'll look at the following texts: "At the Station of the Metro" (Pound), "Tales of Brave Ulysses" (Cream - LL),  "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" (Death Cab for Cutie - LL), and ♫ YT "Elephant Love Medley" (from Moulin Rouge!). We’ll also look at samples of literary analysis, which can be found in the Six Categories, Commentary Samplesand Essay Samples.

Read the following pages very carefully — and several times if necessary:

— Outline & Schedule

— Essay StructureEssay Samples, & Commentary Samples

— Six Categories: 1: Space2-5: Time, etc., & 6: Style


"Sonnet 116" (in Romance & the Elevation of Beauty) -  "Black Star" (Radiohead - LL) - "Black" (Pearl Jam - LL) -  "Paint It Black" (Rolling Stones - LL) - "Sonnet 130" (William Shakespeare) - "Bright Star" (Keats) -  "Reason or Rhyme" (Bryan Ferry - LL)

Q. How do the poets use imagery of stars and suns? How do they use colour?


See the worksheet Ophelia. "Ophelia's Death" (from Hamlet) -  "Ophelia" (Natalie Merchant - LL - this address has the foreign words at the end with translations; "They wasted" in stanza 7 should read "Lay wasted") -  "Abattoir Blues"  (Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - LL) -  "Nature Boy" (Cave - LL) - YT "Swimming Pools (Drank)" (Kendrick Lamar - LL) -  "Pride" (Kendrick Lamar - LL)

Q. How does Merchant’s version of Ophelia differ from the original? What role do setting, love, and allusion play in Cave? What is the relation of idealism to realism in Cave and Lamar?

WEEK 4  

Essay # 1 (20%) due at the start of class (the start of class on Tuesday for the T/R afternoon class).

Write a scratch outline (about 150 words) and an essay (maximum 650 words) comparing two of the following five poems:  "Like a Friend" (Pulp - LL),   "Back to Black" (Amy Winehouse - LL), "somewhere" (e.e.. cummings), “A Love Song for Lucinda” (Langston Hughes), and    "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue" (Bob Dylan - LL).

You can find two sample scratch outlines in Essay Samples. “somewhere” and “Lucinda” are in the supplied Readings. You can mention the Winehouse video briefly, yet make sure your analysis is squarely on the text.

Compare the two 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).

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.

Given that you have an essay due this week, I don't expect you to read the following texts before class — but make sure to bring hard-copies of them: "Love's Grief" & ♫ YT Romeo & Juliet (in Romance & the Elevation of Beauty) - "To His Coy Mistress" ("Mistress," Andrew Marvell) -  "No I in Threesome" ("Threesome," Interpol - LL) -  "Beauty Queen" (Bryan Ferry - LL) - ♫ YT "Tuyo" (Rodrigo Amarante - the original and the translation are in the supplied Readings).


Idealism & Reality

WEEK 5                                     

The Ideal & the Real.   "Hotel California" (The Eagles - LL) - "'Tis Not So Above" (from Hamlet) - "The Girl from Ermita" ("Ermita," Goh Poh Seng - also see the worksheet Ermita) - "When I Have Fears" ("Fears," John Keats) - ♫ YT "Everything is Everything" ("Everything," Lauryn Hill - LL).

Q. How do the Eagles and Shakespeare use setting and religion to depict the trapped states of their characters? How do Keats and Goh Poh Seng use space (locations, verticality, etc.) and natural imagery (plants, animals, etc.) to depict character?



Love: Idealism & Reality.   "Lola" (The Kinks - LL) - "Donna Julia" (Byron, from Don Juan) - Don Juan de Marcos (film shown in class)



Mid-term exam: two commentaries (20%), 160 minutes.

1)  "Love's Grief" - YT Romeo & Juliet - "Sonnet 130" - "Bright Star"  ❧ ❧ ""Black Star" - "Black" - "Paint It Black" - "Reason or Rhyme"

2)  "Ophelia's Death" - "Ermita" ❧ ❧ "Ophelia" - "Pride" - "Hotel California"

3)  YT "Swimming Pools" - "Abattoir Blues" - "Beauty Queen" ❧ ❧ "'Tis Not So Above" - "Nature Boy" - "Everything" - "Fears"

4)  YT "Tuyo" - "Mistress" - "Threesome" ❧ ❧ "Lola" - "Donna Julia" - Don Juan de Marcos

At the start of the exam, I’ll roll a dice to determine which two — from the four groups above —- you’ll write on. For each of the two commentaries 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 2, you could compare "Love's Grief" with "Black Star" and then compare "Ophelia's Death" with "Ophelia."

Since the exam’s meant to test coverage, write about the same amount for each of the two commentaries, and write about the same amount for items on both sides of the leaf marks. Remember that you must bring in the theme discussed in class, and make some connection to other poems discussed in class. You need to show that you understand the context in which we have been looking at the poems.

Also 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 all the texts. You may not consult other course information, notes, electronic devices, dictionaries, or any other material. You may write brief notes in the margins of your texts — no more than 20 words per page -- yet you may not write sentences or any type of sustained commentary or argument. 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 break any of these rules will be penalized: they will not be allowed to consult anything at all — including the texts of the poems themselves.

Social Conscience 


"Saint Pablo" (Kanye West - LL) - "Ozymandias" (Smith) & "Ozymandias" (Percy Shelley) - "The Shield of Achilles" ("Shield," W.H. Auden - also see the worksheet Achilles) -  "Long Road Out of Eden" ("Eden," The Eagles - LL)



See the worksheet Rough Passages "Thousands Are Sailing" ("Thousands," The Pogues - LL) - "Caliban" (Edward Brathwaite) "The Negro Speaks of Rivers" (“Rivers”) & "Harlem" (Langston Hughes) - ♫ YT "Mississippi Goddam" (Nina Simone - LL) - "Strange Fruit" (lyric Abel Meeropol, song Billie Holiday - LL



See the worksheets Hallelujah and Lemonade.  ♫ YT "Katrina/Hallelujah" ("Hurricane Katrina – you must watch this," The Ticket — the video uses Jeff Buckley's rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" - LL) - ♫ YT "Formation" (Beyoncé - LL) - “XXX.” (Kendrick Lamar -LL)


WEEK 11                                                        

"And I Will War" (Byron) - ♫ YT "The Fight Song" (Marilyn Manson - LL) - [we may also look briefly at YT "Strange Fruit (Blood on the Leaves)"] - "I’ve Got Life" (Hill - LL) -  "El Puro No Hay Futuro" / "There’s No Future in Purity" ("Futuro," Jarabe de Palo - translation in Readings)



"Unto the Breach" (from Henry V ) - "Dulce et Decorum Est" "Anthem for Doomed Youth" ("Dulce" & "Anthem," Wilfred Owen) - "Us and Them" (Pink Floyd - LL) -  "For What It's Worth" (Buffalo Springfield - LL) - "Roads to Moscow" (Al Stewart - LL)




"Dust" & "Dream" (from Hamlet) - "When I Heard the Learned Astronomer" ("Astronomer," Walt Whitman) - "Brain Damage" & "Eclipse" (Pink Floyd - LL - LL) -  "Bohemian Rhapsody" (Queen - LL) - ♫ "Una Breve Vacanza" / "A Short Vacation" ("Vacanza," Nina Zilli - translation in Readings; there's no good video version available)



I will be in my office during class this week. This is a very good time to drop in and have a chat about your final paper.

Essay #2 (25%) 

Write a maximum 700-word essay (plus scratch outline) on one or two texts from Weeks 8-13. You can focus on one of the six categories or on any aspect you want (as long as you’re dealing specifically with the text). If you write on two texts, you must do a comparative analysis. YOU CANNOT WRITE YOUR FINAL EXAM ON THE SAME TEXT/S.

Follow the format instructions for the Week 4 essay.

You may hand in your final essay during the final class, anytime before the exam (in the LLPA Assignment Drop-Box — in the hall, outside S 2600), or at the final exam. I CANNOT ACCEPT ESSAYS AFTER THE FINAL EXAM.

Final Exam (25%)

The time-limit (160 minutes) and format are the same as for the mid-term exam.

1.  "Saint Pablo" - "Ozymandias" (Smith and/or Shelley) - "Shield" ❧❧ "For What It's Worth" "Eden" - YT "Katrina/Hallelujah"

2.  "Thousands" - "Caliban" - "Rivers" & "Harlem" - "Strange Fruit" ❧❧ YT "Formation" - "I've Got Life" - "Mississippi Goddam"

3.  "And I Will War" - "Fight Song" - "Unto the Breach" - XXX. ❧❧ "Dulce" - "Anthem" - "Futuro" - "Roads to Moscow" - "Us and Them" 

4.  "Dust" - "Dream" - "Brain Damage" - "Eclipse" ❧❧  "Astronomer" -  "Bohemian Rhapsody" -  "Vacanza"                                                      


Back to Top

English 1114 Table of Contents