Stanford University
ENGLISH 160 / ENGLISH 60 : Poetry and Poetics - Syllabus
Fall 2006

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Margaret Ferguson and others, eds, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th edn (New York: Norton, 2005)

The Stanford Bookstore should have adequate numbers of new copies of this text. However, the book is widely available, both at other local bookstores and online from booksellers such as Please be aware that only the 5th edn will work for this class. (Other editions have somewhat different poems and different pagination -- the schedule won't make sense with other edns.)

A few other poems and documents will be available to classmembers on this CourseWork site during the quarter.

Course Requirements and Grading (percentages approximate)

  • 1 very short paper (1-1.5 pages) 10%
  • 1 short paper (2-4 pages) 15%
  • Recitation in section of 30 lines of poetry 10%
  • Composition of 1 short poem 15%
  • 1 longer paper (6-9 pages) 25%
  • Regular attendance at lectures and sections, substantive participation in class, section and the online course forum 25%
Please remember when handing in your papers, both in draft form to Felicia Martinez, the WIM consultant, and to me in final form, to include with the paper xeroxes of each of the poems which you have discussed.

The TA for this class will be Kenneth Ligda ( On Weds, 27 Sept., he will begin organizing section times. Sections will begin in week 2.

English 60? English 160?
If you take the class as English 60, you take it for 3 credits and get to drop, by negotiation with me, two of the smaller elements from among the class requirements. You still have to do the short paper and the longer paper, attend class and section regularly, and so on. The course is designed to give the best experience if you take it as English 160 for 5 credits. It's not that much more work as 160 and I believe you'll get a lot more out of it (as well as picking up the two extra credits). My advice is take it as English 160 if you possibly can. In addition, if you either are a declared English Major already or if you have even a faint inkling that you might just possibly become one later on, you must take the 160 version of the class, with the WIM component. (If you're an English Major now or if you become one later and you haven't taken this class for the full 5 units and used it to fulfill the WIM requirement, you will, alas, have to take it all over again. There are no exceptions to this rule.) So, bottom line -- unless you have a really good reason not to, save yourself some potential or actual trouble and take the class as English 160.

For two sessions out of each three, the basic element of this course will a lecture, but in all our sessions there will also be dialogue and the interchange of ideas and perceptions about poetry. During each lecture there will be a period for you to ask questions. And every Wednesday, every third session in other words, we will read one previously-unseen poem together in class.

In order that the course be a meaningful one for you, it is vital that you do the reading before each class. For most classes, the assigned amount of reading is relatively small. This is to give you a chance to read and re-read the poems intensively, the only sure way to bring out a poem's inner meaning. It is also helpful if, hefty as the book is, you can bring the Norton with you so you can make references and follow lectures and other people's comments.

Please double space all your papers. No late work will be accepted without prior notification to me or our TA, given well in advance.

Writing in the Major
This course satisfies the Writing-in the-Major requirement for English majors. Felicia Martinez (, the consultant and program coordinator for Writing in the Major, will be visiting at the start of the session on 27 Sept. to give a brief presentation on the way the program runs and to answer your questions.

Bibliography: Some Poetry Handbooks and Guides to Forms and Terms
M. H. Abrams, A Glossary of Literary Terms, 6th edn (Fort Worth: Harcourt Brace, 1993)

Paul Fussell, Poetic Meter and Poetic Form (New York: Random House, 1965)

John Hollander, Rhyme’s Reason: A Guide to English Verse, 3rd edn (New Haven: Yale UP, 2001)

Alex Preminger and T. V. F. Brogan, eds, The New Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics
(Princeton: Princeton UP, 1993)

Jon Stallworthy, “Versification,” in Margaret Ferguson and others, eds, The Norton Anthology of Poetry, 5th edn (New York: Norton, 2005), 2027-2052

Mark Strand and Eavan Boland, eds, The Making of a Poem: A Norton Anthology of Poetic Forms (New York: Norton, 2000)

Helen Vendler, Poems, Poets, Poetry: An Introduction and Anthology (Boston: St Martin’s, 1997)

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