Jan. 23: Introduction to Modern American Poetry
Jan. 30: A broad selection of great poems from the 1950s to the present
Listed below are all assigned readings for this week, from anthology and online. Scroll down to find the online materials.
from the Modern American Poetry anthology:
• Bishop, The Fish
• Wilbur, A Baroque Wall-Fountain
• Plath, Black Rook in Rainy Weather
• Ammons, Corson’s Inlet
• Mary Oliver, The Lillies Break Open Over the Dark Water
• Hongo, Ancestral Graves Kahuku [Hawaii]
• Dickinson, There’s a certain slant of light; I heard a fly buzz; Volcanos be in Sicily [all in our anthology]; and #1463, A route of evanescence (see link below).
• Whitman, Song of Myself, sections 4, 5, and 6 (see link below).
Also assigned, from the English 53 Moodle site and/or the Internet (see below):
- James Merrill, Christmas Tree
- Arthur Sze, Before Completion
- Ellen Bass What Did I Love (includes a link to a New Yorker podcast reading and discussion of the poem)
- Kevin Young, Crowning (includes a link to a New Yorker podcast reading and discussion of the poem)
- … and three contemporary poets with Swarthmore connections:
- Daisy Fried (Swarthmore ‘89), “Women’s Poetry” (xerox and pdf on Moodle)
- Rowan Richardo Phillips (Swarthmore ’96), “Proper Names in the Lyrics of Troubadours,” “Terra Incognita,” and “Aubade, Vol. 2: The Underground Sessions,” from The Ground (pdf on Moodle). Phillips’ second book of poems, Heaven, will be published in 2015.
- Dilruba Ahmed, “Ghazal” (Ruba lives in Swarthmore and teaches and reads widely in the Philadelphia area and beyond).
Feb. 6: 20th and 21st Century Poets: Poetic Justice / Historic Atrocities I
Here below is a list of all readings assigned for this class, in anthology and online. Scroll down to find the online resources.
from Modern American Poetry anthology:
• Bishop, In the Waiting Room
• Plath, Colossus, Tulips, Daddy, Lady Lazarus. Listen to Plath read Daddy: and read Lady Lazarus:
You may find other readings of Plath’s on YouTube as well.
• Rich, Diving into the Wreck
• Ai, Testimony of J. Robert Oppenheimer
from the English 53 Moodle page:
• Julia de Burgos, “to Julia de Burgos”*
*Note: there will be a Swarthmore talk in English on Burgos’ work on Thursday, March 5, time and place tba. Burgos is puertorriqueno and grew up on the island but has had a long and influential career while living in the U.S. (NYC). She writes mostly but not exclusively in Spanish. I present you with a good translation here (by Jack Agüeros) of one of her most famous poems.
• Martín Espada, Alabanza (pdf; see also Espada selections in our anthology, which are optional reading.)
• Gloria Anzaldúa, To Live in the Borderlands
• Sandra Cisneros, 5 poems [note: Cisneros’ “Loose Woman” pairs well with Plath’s Lady “Lazarus” and (later this semester) H.D.’s “Eurydice”]
• Anne Carson, Pronoun Envy
Feb. 13: 20th and 21st Century Poets: Poetic Justice / Historic Atrocities II
NOTE: draft of paper #1 due in class today. I'll give this draft to your WA and you'll meet with the WA for a paper conference sometime between Feb. 13 and Friday, Feb. 27, when the paper is due (see below, and see syllabus for more details).
READINGS FOR THIS CLASS:
from our English 53 Moodle site (see texts below):
• Patricia Lockwood, The Rape Joke
• Jamaal May, Man Matching Description
• Claudia Rankine, excerpt from Citizen (Pulitzer Prize 2014)
from the anthology:
• Poems carved on the walls at Angel Island; see also background material on the anthology website: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/a_f/angel/angel.htm
• Japanese American internment camp haiku (from World War II era). Study all background material on the anthology website: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/haiku/haiku.htm
• Robert Hayden, Runagate
• Robert Lowell, For the Union Dead
• Adrian Louis, The Great American Copulation
Feb. 20: American Songbook, I: recent and classic rap; contemporary pop selections; etc. See the 4 groups of resources below. Download or print out all texts of lyrics and authors and bring to class, including Prof. Schmidt's tips on rhyming and listening to words and music together. Listen to all music several times before class, studying how words and music interact. Enjoy! First is the reading/listening guide, then (scroll down further) the text and audio files you'll need. Note: some of the text files will have links to listen to the music. If any of the links don't work, search YouTube yourself using the name of the author and song/rap. You may also want to check out the Genius.com website for lyrics and annotations for songs below that you are particularly interested in.
• Last Poets, E Pluribus
• Queen Latifah and Daddy-O, The Pros
• Lauryn Hill, Doo Wop (That Thing)
• Erykah Badu, Apple Tree
• digable planets, Rebirth of Slick (Cool Like Dat)
• Ice Cube + Yo-Yo (on the sex wars)
• Tupac (“Holla if ya hear me”) and Lee Morgan mashup.docx
Border Songs (a project to raise money to place water jugs in the desert in Arizona and elsewhere to aid migrants and counter Miniteman patrols: for more information, see Moodle)
- Margaret Randall (Offended Turf) and Glenn Wegart (musician; excerpt from Droneland Security)
- Sweet Honey in the Rock, Are We a Nation?
- Calexico, Across the Wire
contemporary rap in Spanish and/or Spanish and English:
Calle 13, Adentro
contemporary rap and pop:
- Jay-Z and Eminem, Renegade
- Mos Def, Hip Hop
- Nas, Jungle Jay, ft. his father Olu Dara’s music
- Sleater-Kinney, Jumpers
- Taylor Swift, Shake It Off
- Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea, Problem
- Beyoncé, Flawless [view video and read lyrics and annotations on the Genius.com annotations site; see link below]
- Grimes, Oblivion
- jazz bassist & singer Kate Davis covers "All About That Bass" (!)
- Margaret Cho, music and lyrics, Eat Shit and Die (the sex wars as musical comedy)
- Yuna (Malaysia/US): search and listen to her music on YouTube, and use metrolyrics.com/yuna-lyrics.html for your favorites. In particular, I recommend 4 for the music, the lyrics, and the video: Falling, Live Your Life (co-written with Pharrell Williams), Rescue, and Mermaid.
February 27: The Beats and Other Hipsters, 1950s and after, I
Also: paper #1 due in class, both the WA'd version and your revised version. No extensions.
Reading from our print anthology:
• Ginsberg, Howl Read the excerpt in our anthology. For Ginsberg reading from Howl in 1959:
• Snyder, Riprap, Straight-Creek--Great Burn, Axe Handles
• Inada, Listening Images
• Hughes, Montage of a Dream Deferred (pdf on Moodle; see below). Hughes’ poem is an important precendent for all contemporary efforts to unite poetry and music/spoken word and dramatic performance. This is a long poem (like Howl), so please devote extra time for reading this!
• O’Hara, Poem, Today, A Step Away from Them, The Day Lady Died [about Billie Holiday, also know as Lady Day], A True Account of Talking to the Sun, and Having a Coke With You, and Ave Maria. For Ave Maria, see our Moodle site; for “Having a Coke” read the pdf in Moodle and listen to O’Hara reading it on YouTube, recorded just a few months before he was killed:
• Helen Vendler, essay on O’Hara’s Collected Poems (.doc file)
• Reed, I am a cowboy in the boat of Ra
• Kaufman, 3 poems
• Cortez, I Am New York City, Do You Think
Other resources on the English 53 Moodle site below:
• Muriel Rukeyser, Ballad of Orange and Grape. Optional: see also information on Rukeyser and a selection of her poems in Modern American Poetry.
• the poet Muriel Rukeyser’s 1959 reflections on the SF vs NY poetry scenes, and also her thoughts on the male Beats’ attitudes toward women, see the relevant mp3 selections under #8 on the Rukeyser page on the PennSound website:
March 6: The Beats and Other Hipsters, 1950s and after, II(see also the online syllabus above and the resources and assignments for the previous week)
AFTER SPRING BREAK: March 20: Modernism Makes It New, I: Frost and Stevens
Read the Frost and Stevens selections in our anthology, plus the brief profiles of both poets. Poems one which we'll concentrate:
Frost: "Mending Wall," "Birches," "The Wood-Pile," "After Apple-Picking," "The Road Not Taken," "Design," and "Fire and Ice."
Stevens: "13 Ways of Looking at the Blackbird," "Floral Decorations for Bananas," "The Snow Man," "The Emperor of Ice-Cream," "Sunday Morning," "The Idea of Order at Key West," "Of Modern Poetry," "The Course of a Particular," and "Of Mere Being."
March 27: The American Songbook, II (classics from the 1920s through the 1970s, plus a sampling of work by 2 Broadway greats, Stephen Sondheim and Lin-Manuel Miranda). Here's first a list of what to study; scroll down further to see text and audio files etc. I've assigned LOTS of great songs this week--all are classics that have stood the test of time. Most songs are just 3 minutes long or so, but it's worth trying to listen to your favorites several times so you can catch some of the nuances. Please allow enough time to do this assignment--don't wait until Thursday evening to begin!
• Billy Holiday (2 songs, both written and sung by her: Billie’s Blues and God Bless the Child)
• Lead Belly, "Jim Crow Blues" (1930s)
• Frank Sinatra sings Cole Porter’s I Get a Kick Out of You
• Richard Lalli sings Gershwin’s Fascinating Rhythm and Porter’s “What is This Thing Called Love?” (see also Forte pdf on the Porter song);
• Fred Astaire sings Kerns and Fields’ The Way You Look Tonight, from the movie Swing Time with Ginger Rogers; see lyrics and a YouTube link
• Hoagy Carmichael (Stardust and How Little We Know, including one version sung by Lauren Bacall! See the Forte pdf for analysis of How Little We Know)
• Forte pdf discussing Porter and Carmichael songs (see above)
• Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Breathe” and “$96,000” from the Tony-winning Broadway musical In the Heights. Optional: In the Height's opening number, which introduces all the characters and the musical's main themes.
• Stephen Sondheim, 2 songs (for the Witch [Rapunzel’s mother] and Cinderella) from the Broadway musical and now the recent movie Into the Woods
• country, rock, and r&b classics:
• PS’s tips to listening to words and music
April 3: Modernism Makes It New, III: Moore and H.D., followed by Niedecker and Bishop.
Note: draft for paper #2 due in class, April 3. You may write on any poem/poet we've read so far, except on what you covered in paper #1. I recommend that you focus on giving a deep reading of one poem or part of a poem, applying what you've learned from my feedback on your first paper.
April 10: Modernism Makes It New, IV: Pound and Eliot and Crane
April 17: Early 20th Century Modernism Makes It New, I: Williams, Hughes, and Johnson
Note: WA'd draft and revised paper #2 due in class, April 17—or to turn in your final draft, you may upload it using the link at the end of this April 17 section (see below).
Read the Williams and Hughes selections in our Modern American Poetry anthology. In addition, check out the Johnson, Williams, and Hughes materials below. We read Hughes' 1950s Montage of a Dream Deferred before break; the anthology selections of Hughes and the 2 poems sung by Leyla McCalla primarily concentrate on his great earlier work from the 1920s through the 1940s.
Meta Jones, an expert on Langston Hughes and author of The Muse is Music: Jazz Poetry from the Harlem Renaissance to Spoken Word, may be able to visit our class for part of the time on April 17 (!). If so, I'll assign your a brief excerpt from her book. Professor Jones is visiting Swarthmore to participate in the April 17-18 (Fri. and Sat.) Sound Breaks symposium sponsored by Professor Mark Lomanno, the Cooper Foundation, and the Swarthmore Department of Music on improvisation, music, the liberal arts, and strengthening democracy and civic engagement.
- This topic
April 24: Whitman and Dickinson, I. See syllabus for the specific reading assignments.
May 1: Whitman and Dickinson II; course conclusion. See syllabus for the specific reading assignments.