|Course Type||Course Code||No. Of Credits|
Semester and Year Offered:Winter, 2020
Course Coordinator and Team: Dr. Akhil Katyal
Email of course coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
This course is a practice-based poetry-writing course where the students will critically read and write ‘formal’ poetry. The semester will be split into seven 2-week modules, each focussed on a particular poetic form, where we shall spend one week studying the history, the socio-cultural context and the craft elements of that particular poetic form — Ghazal, Haiku, Villanelle, Concrete Poetry/Visual Poetry, Limerick, Sestina and Acrostic — and spend the next week workshopping the students’ own poems written in that form. Proceeding with the pragmatic assumption that the alleged ‘constraint’ of form is productive, in that it provides creative challenges and generative tangents for poets to explore their thematic preoccupations in newer, sharper and ideationally demanding ways, the course attempts to inculcate a strong practice of the ‘formal’, and to deepen the students’ understanding of the relationship between ‘form’ and ‘content’ in their own practice as poets. The objective of this course is to develop a strong appreciation of formal craft within the student practioners of poetry, by familiarizing them with seven distinct poetic forms, both as objects of study and practice. In doing so, the ‘formal’ within poetry is revealed as being more than just an application of predetermined rules, instead becoming an exploratory mode in which subject matters and intents of various kinds find a productive crucible, a generative closure, and a device most conducive for their expression. It serves to increase the students’ alertness to the physical form of the poem, and its aspects of space, sound and sense. This, in turn, serves to sharpen and critically inform the long-term creative choices of poetry practioners.
Brief description of modules/ Main modules:
Week 1: Introduction: Form and/in Poetry
Levertov, Denise, ‘Some Notes on Organic Form’, in Poetry, Vol. 106, No. 6, September 1965, The Poetry Foundation: Chicago.
Pinsky, Robert, ‘The Pursuit of Form’, excerpted from Singing School, W.W. Norton: 2013: New York and London, in The Poetry Foundation, accessed at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/articles/70037/the-pursuit-of-form, d.o.a: April 2019.
Hass, Robert, ‘Introduction’, in A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry, 2017, HarperCollins: London and New York. Szirtes,
George, ‘Formal Wear: Notes on Rhyme, Meter, Stanza and Pattern’, in Poetry, Vol. 187, No. 5, February 2006, The Poetry Foundation: Chicago.
Week 2-3: Ghazal
Formal elements: couplet, rhyme, refrain, signature, metre, variation, line
Hollander, John, ‘Ghazal on Ghazals’, in Columbia.edu, http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00ghalib/about/x_genre_overview.html#hollander, D.O.A: June, 2019.
Ali, Agha Shahid, ‘Tonight’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/51652/tonight-56d22f898fcd7, D.O.A: June, 2019.
Faiz, Faiz Ahmed, ‘Bring the Flowers to Bloom’ in K.C. Kanda (ed.) Masterpieces of Urdu Ghazal from the 17th to the 20th Century, Sterling Paperbacks: 1992, pg. 323.
Smith, Patricia, Hip-Hop Ghazal, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/49642/hip-hop-ghazal, D.O.A: June, 2019.
Shahid Ali, Agha, ‘Introduction’, in Ravishing Disunities: Real Ghazals in English, University Press of New England (Hanover NH), 2000, pg. 1-14. Ravishing Disunities: Real Ghazals in English, afterword by Sara Suleri Goodyear, University Press of New England (Hanover, NH), 2000.
Shahid Ali, Agha, ‘The Rebel's Silhouette: Translating Faiz Ahmed Faiz’, Katha Utsav: 1991, http://www.katha.org/translation-essays.html.
Week 4-5: Haiku
Formal elements: cutting word, syllable, closure, metre, line
Basho, In Kyoto, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48708/in-kyoto-, D.O.A: June, 2019.
Issa Kobayashi, On a branch, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48702/on-a-branch-, D.O.A: June, 2019.
Pound, Ezra, In a Station of the Metro, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/12675/in-a-station-of-the-metro, D.O.A: June, 2019.
Hass, Robert, After the Gentle Poet Kobayashi Issa, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47809/after-the-gentle-poet-kobayashi-issa, D.O.A: June, 2019.
Simpson, Megan & Marshall, Ian, ‘Deconstructing Haiku: A Dialogue’ in College Literature, Summer 2006, Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, pp. 117-134.
Week 6-7: Villanelle
Formal elements: repetition, rhyme, tercet, metre, envoi, quatrain, line, variation
Bishop, Elizabeth, ‘One Art’, in Poets.org, https://poets.org/poem/one-art, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Thomas, Dylan, ‘Do not go Gentle into that Good Night’, in Poets.org, https://poets.org/poem/do-not-go-gentle-good-night, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Auden, W.H., ‘If I could tell you’, in All Poetry, https://allpoetry.com/If-I-Could-Tell-You, D.O.A.: June 2019.
Plath, Sylvia, ‘Mad Girl’s Love Song’, in All Poetry, https://allpoetry.com/Mad-Girl%27s-Love-Song, D.O.A.: June 2019.
Critical Readings: Kane, Julie, ‘The Myth of the Fixed-Form Villanelle’, in MLQ: Modern Language Quarterly, Vol. 64, No. 4, 2003, pp. 427-443, Project Muse, muse.jhu.edu/article/48641.
Hass, Robert, ‘Victorian Medievalism: Sestina and Villanelle’, in A Little Book on Form: An Exploration into the Formal Imagination of Poetry, 2017, HarperCollins: London and New York.
Week 8-9: Concrete Poetry/Visual Poetry
Formal elements: spatial arrangement, visuality as meaning, colour, media
Herbert, George, ‘Easter Wings’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/44361/easter-wings, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Brathwaite, Kamau, ‘Soweto’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47799/soweto, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Starbuck, George, ‘Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/34111/sonnet-in-the-shape-of-a-potted-christmas-tree, D.O.A.: June 2019.
Morin, Gustave, ‘toon tune’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/51817/toon-tune, D.O.A. June 2019.
Draper, R.P., ‘Concrete Poetry’, in New Literary History, Vol 2, No. 2, Form and its Alternatives, Winter 1971, pp. 329-340, Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore.
Week 10-11: Limerick
Formal elements: quintain, rhyme, repetition, metre, line
Anonymous, ‘A Young Lady of Lynn’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/42910/a-young-lady-of-lynn, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Lear, Edward, ‘There was an Old Man with a Beard’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/45755/there-was-an-old-man-with-a-beard, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Levy, Constance, ‘How awkward when playing with glue’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46930/how-awkward-when-playing-with-glue, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Rao, Aditi, ‘Life Gyaan for Humpty Dumpty’, in A Kind of Freedom Song, Yoda Press: 2019.
Rieder, John, ‘Edward Lear’s Limericks: The Function of Children’s Nonsense Poetry’, in Children’s Literature, Volume 26, 1998, Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, pp. 47-60.
Week 12-13: Sestina
Formal elements: endword, length, repetition, metre, line, envoi, variation
Bishop, Elizabeth, ‘A Miracle for Breakfast’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=32380, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Farm, Raych Jackson, ‘A Sestina for a Black Girl Who Does Not Know How to Braid Hair’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/146235/a-sestina-for-a-black-girl-who-does-not-know-how-to-braid-hair, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Ashbery, John, ‘Implements and Rutabagas in a Landscape’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47763/farm-implements-and-rutabagas-in-a-landscape, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Ferry, David, ‘The Guest Ellen at the Supper for Street People’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43395/the-guest-ellen-at-the-supper-for-street-people, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Caplan, David, ‘The Age of the Sestina’, in Questions of Possibility: Contemporary Poetry and Poetic Form, 2005: Oxford University Press: Oxford, pg. 17-42.
Week 14-15: Acrostic
Formal elements: disguise, signature, spatial arrangement, stanza, pattern
Carroll, Lewis, ‘A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43907/a-boat-beneath-a-sunny-sky, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Greenbaum, Jessica, ‘A Poem for S.’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poems/55645/a-poem-for-s, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Kerrigan, Anthony, ‘Canicular Acrostic’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/browse?contentId=28374, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
William, ‘London’, in Poetry Foundation, https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/43673/london-56d222777e969, D.O.A.: June, 2019.
Klemp, P.J., ‘‘Now Hid, Now Seen’: An Acrostic in Paradise Lost”, in Milton Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 3, pg. 91-92, October 1977; Vaughn, Mark, ‘More Than Meets the Eye: Milton’s Acrostics in ‘Paradise Lost’’, Milton Quarterly, Vol. 16, No. 1, March 1982, pp. 6-8.
O’Neill, Emily, ‘People Keep Hiding Anti-Trump Acrostics in Their Resignation Letters—Here’s Why The Acrostic is the Perfect Poetic Form for this Political Moment’, in Electric Literature, https://electricliterature.com/people-keep-putting-hidden-anti-trump-messages-intheir-resignation-letters-heres-why/, August 2017.
Assessment Details with weights:
Complete Module-wise Reading List included above.