I. ASCRC General Education Form Group IV. Expressive Arts Dept/Program

I. ASCRC General Education Form
IV. Expressive Arts
English/Creative Writing
Course Title
Course #
Introduction to Poetry Writing
II. Endorsement/Approvals
Complete the form and obtain signatures before submitting to Faculty Senate Office
Please type / print name Signature
Karen Volkman
Program Chair
Casey Charles
Jon Tompkins
III. Description and purpose of the course: General Education courses must be introductory
and foundational. They must emphasize breadth, context, and connectedness; and relate course
content to students’ future lives: See Preamble:
Phone / Email
An introduction to poetry writing, ENCR 211 is a studio course in which students re-discover
and explore language as an expressive art, through in-class and at-home writing assignments
based on sound and visual association, comparison, etymology, spontaneous response, and
other exercises. Students also learn basic prosodic terms for discussing poems, skills in editing
and critique, and read a wide range of poets representing diverse aesthetics.
IV. Criteria: Briefly explain how this course meets the criteria for the group. See:
Courses guide students, whether in individual Students write poems each week, exploring
different expressive methods.
or group settings, to acquire foundational
skills to engage in the creative process
and/or in interpretive performance.
Through direct experience (for example,
attendance and involvement with live
performance, exhibitions, workshops, and
readings), they will engage in critical
assessment of their own work and the work
of others.
Students engage in discussion of assigned
readings from anthologies and volumes of
poetry by single authors.
Students participate in workshops throughout
the semester, receiving critiques of their own
work and critiquing the work of their fellow
V. Student Learning Goals: Briefly explain how this course will meet the applicable learning
goals. See: http://www.umt.edu/facultysenate/ASCRCx/Adocuments/GE_Criteria5-1-08.htm
Upon completion of this perspective students
will be able to:
express themselves in the making of an
original work or creative performance;
understand the genres and/or forms that have
shaped the medium; and
critique the quality of their own work and that
of others.
Students are assigned weekly poetry writing
assignments exploring different aspects of the
writing process. A final portfolio of revised
poems demonstrates their progress in writing
and revision skills.
Each week, students discuss of reading from
anthologies and course books representing a
broad aesthetic range.
A third to a half of each week’s class time is
devoted to group workshops which develop
skills in editing and critique.
VII. Syllabus: Paste syllabus below or attach and send digital copy with form. ⇓ The syllabus
should clearly describe how the above criteria are satisfied. For assistance on syllabus
preparation see: http://teaching.berkeley.edu/bgd/syllabus.html
Introduction to Poetry Writing
ENCR 211
Karen Volkman
Fall 2004
Tue/Thurs 12:40-2:00
Ph: 243-4063
Office hours: T/Th 2:00-3:30,
and by appointment
Office: LA 113
Texts Kenneth Koch, Making Your Own Days
Harryette Mullen, Sleeping with the Dictionary
Joy Harjo, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky
Course Description “. . . suddenly it struck me [what quality] Shakespeare possessed so enormously. I mean
negative capability, that is, when man is capable of remaining in uncertainties, mysteries,
doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact and reason . . . what shocks the virtuous
philosopher delights the chameleon poet.”
John Keats, Letters
The word “poetry” comes from the Greek poesis, which means “making.” A poem is a piece of
art the poet makes from words. A painter uses paint, a composer shapes music out of sounds -poetry takes the words we use every day, and other, less common words buried in our minds,
yanks them from their usual place, and makes them reappear, transformed, in the frame of the
poem. Through language, poetry gives voice and form to a human consciousness in relation to
its surrounding circumstances, real or imaginative – a relationship that may be contradictory,
complicated, and illogical. So, unlike much fiction, a poem often doesn’t tell a story in a
coherent way, and it may not have a content that can be summarized apart from its form. Many
poets, when asked what a poem means, will simply say it means what it is – the meaning can’t
be separated from the making.
Our first goal in class is to rediscover words as material, as sounds and shapes giving rise to
sensation and association. All writing balances spontaneous, impulsive creation and an urge
toward order and form. This semester we will consider both aspects of the writing process. For
the first half of the term, we will focus on the words themselves, considering sound and visual
association, comparison, etymology, illogical leaps, and spontaneous responses in group and
partner writing. At the same time, you will learn prosodic terms to provide a vocabulary for
discussing the poems we read. In the second half of the semester, we will turn to a more
analytic mode, discussing revision strategies, workshopping poems, and moving to exercises
which engage resonances of history, culture, and self-representation. At mid-term, I will meet
with each of you to discuss your work. Your final portfolio for the class will include revisions,
self-assignments, and a short response paper.
Assignments 1) In-class and at home poetry writing. You will write frequently in class, with additional poem
assignments to complete at home. Work will be shared regularly. Workshopping will begin
later in the term; selected students will bring copies of their poems for the class on specific
2) Reading. We’ll be reading sections from Kenneth Koch’s Making Your Own Days and
poems from the anthology at the back of that volume, along with two books by contemporary
poets. Please read all assignments carefully and thoughtfully —remember, poems are highly
compressed and should be read several times!
3) Response paper. You will read and write a short (3 page) response to one additional volume
of poetry you read outside of class. We will discuss your choice at the mid-term conference.
4) Final portfolio. You’ll receive more details on the final portfolio after mid-term. It will
include revisions of workshopped poems and in-class writing, at least one self-assignment, and
the response paper.
Requirements 1) Attendance and Punctuality. Regular attendance is essential in a creative writing workshop –
always attend class as an active, engaged participant. Four absences (which equals two weeks
of class) will lower you one letter grade; a fifth absence and beyond will lower you one halfletter grade. If you arrive more than ten minutes after the class starts, you will be marked late;
two lates will be counted as one absence.
2) Class Participation. A good workshop experience depends on all students being actively
involved, open-minded, and generous in their responses. Share your thoughts during
discussions, ask questions, provide comments for your peers when you exchange writing. Class
participation weighs very heavily in determining your final grade.
3) Policy regarding late work. If you miss a writing assignment, get the assignment from me or
one of your classmates as soon as possible and make up the work no later than one week after
the original due date. Late assignments should be typed and include the original due date and
assignment number as well as date submitted.
How are creative writing courses graded? It is hard to put a grade on creative work, so no
grades will be given for individual poems. Your grade will be “holistic,” based on your
performance over the entire semester, with a final portfolio of drafts and revised poems
representing your creative work. We will also discuss your progress at the mid-term
conference. Regular class participation in workshop and discussions is also crucial for a high
Course participation: 50%
Final Portfolio: 50%
Course Schedule Except where indicated, reading assignments are from Kenneth Koch’s Making Your Own
Days. Other selections will be drawn from Joy Harjo’s The Woman Who Fell From the Sky and
Harryette Mullen’s Sleeping with the Dictionary – we’ll start reading poems from them right
away, and discuss them as complete volumes later in the semester.
Week 1
Tues, 8/31
Thurs, 9/2
Koch, “The Two Languages” (p.19-26) -- Sound and Poetry – Hopkins, “The
Windhover” (p. 212) – Word association by sound –writing in pairs
At-home writing assignment #1 – Leaping from a sound phrase
Week 2
Tues, 9/7
Koch, “Music” (p.27-49) – Explanation of prosodic terms – Harryette Mullen,
“Jinglejangle,” (p.34) -- group writing
Thurs, 9/9
Koch, “Inspiration” (p. 81-92) – writing to music – homophonic translation –
group writing
At-home #1 due – share work with class
At-home assignment #2 – extend from in-class music writing
Week 3
Tues, 9/14
Simile and Metaphor – Koch, “Comparisons” (p.52-57)-- Aimee Cesaire, “Night
Tom Tom,” “Sentence” (p. 290-291) -- Cummings, “Spring is Like a Perhaps
Hand” (p.271) – In-class writing: multiplying metaphor
At-home #2 due – share in class
Thurs, 9/16
Imagery – Koch, “The Inclinations of the Poetry Language” (p.51-70) Pasternak,
“Hops” (p.265) – Williams, “The Locust Tree in Flower” (p. – Writing outside
(weather permitting)
At-home #3 – The concentrated image
Week 4
Tues, 9/21
Association by word roots and definition – dictionary poem – bring dictionary to
class – Harryette Mullen, -- in-class N+7
At-home #3 due – share poems
Thurs, 9/23
Koch, “Writing” (p. 93-108) -- Association by relation – the list – In-class
writing: Simultaneous action – Blaise Cendrars, “Waking Up,” “Dawn” (p.257 –
At-home #4 – Simultaneous action continued
Week 5
Tues, 9/28
Koch, “The Poetry Base”(P. 71-78) – Association by disjunction – negative
image – In-class negative image -- Focus: Koch’s comments on revision (p.104108)
At-home #4 due
Thurs, 9/30
Koch, “Reading” (p. 109-133) – The line – Multiple views – Stevens, “Thirteen
Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” (p. 229) – Shakespeare, from Romeo and Juliet
(p. 168)
At-home #5 – Multiple views -- Handout: Small group workshop
Week 6
Tues, 10/5
At-home #5 due – Small group workshop
Thurs, 10/5
Mullen, “Dim Lady” (p.20) and “Variations on a Theme Park” (p. 75) – Diction
– homolexical translation – writing in pairs
Week 7
Tues, 10/12
At-home #6 due – Small group workshop
Thurs, 10/14 Apostrophe – Shelley, “Ode to the West Wind” (p.198) – Keats, “Bright Star”
(p.203)– Moore, “To a Steam Roller” (p. 256) – O’Hara, “A True Account of
Talking to the Sun at Fire Island” (p. 297)
At-home #7 -- Apostrophe
Week 8
Tues, 10/19
At-home #7 due -- Workshop
Thurs, 10/21 Poem based on myth, history, folklore – Harjo, “The Woman Who Fell From the
Sky” (p. 5) and “The Flood” (p.14) -- Anna Akhmatova, from “Requiem” (p.
262) – At-home #8
Week 9
Tues, 10/26
At-home #8 due -- Workshop
Thurs, 10/28 What is a political poem? Selections from Mullen and Harjo
Poem from beyond the grave – Anonymous, “The Unquiet Grave”(p.160) -Rossetti, “Song” (p. 208) – Handout: from the Greek Anthology
Week 10
Tues, 11/2 -- Election Day – no class meeting
Thurs, 11/4
On the street – The poem of observation and place– Langston Hughes, from
Montage of a Dream Deferred (p.277) – Gary Snyder, “I Went into the
Maverick Bar” (p.304) – Allen Ginsberg, “A Supermarket in California” -Melvin Tolson, from “The Harlem Gallery” (p. 273)
-- O’Hara, the daily poem -At-home #9
Week 11
Tues, 11/9
At-home #9 due – Workshop
Thurs, 11/11 – Veteran’s Day – no class meeting
Week 12
Tues, 11/16
The Prose poem – Rimbaud, “Dawn” (p. 213)– O’Hara, “Meditation in an
Emergency” (p. 295) – Mullen and Harjo
At-home #10 – Prose poem
Thurs, 11/18 Writing in response to visual art – trip to campus gallery
Week 13
At-home #10 due -- Workshop
Thanksgiving Day – no class meeting
Week 14
Tues, 11/30
Closed form -- Dante, “Sestina” and sestina handouts – group writing
Thurs, 12/2
Other examples of set forms – Shakespeare, “Sonnet” (p. 173) – Herbert,
“Prayer” – 179) – Ryota, “Communion” (p. 152) -- Handout: Haiku
At-home #11: haiku
Week 15
Tues, 12/7
At-home #11 due -- Workshop
Thurs, 12/9
Catch-up – Book as form and structure – Mullen and Harjo
Exam week
Final meeting TBA
*Please note: As an instructor of a general education course, you will be expected to provide
sample assessment items and corresponding responses to the Assessment Advisory Committee.