Spring 2011

Poetry and Theory:  High Modernism, Late Modernism, Postmodernism

Listed in: English, as ENGL-56


Patrick Pritchett (Section 01)


This course will focus on the major poets and schools of American poetry from 1900 to 1990, placing equal weight on each school’s agenda.  Inevitably, though, we will confront two related questions:  how does one form and represent aesthetic judgment and what is the social basis for evaluations of taste.  These questions will become evident as we analyze the often fractious (but also nourishing) dynamics of formation and counter-formation which govern the development of distinct schools and trends in poetry.  Along the way we will try to unsettle a few cherished orthodoxies while contextualizing formal concerns within historical frameworks.  Why, for instance, does Imagism emerge when it does and what drives its rejection of the past?  How does the Cold War inflect the mid-century work of poets as distinct as Elizabeth Bishop and Charles Olson?  Is there really such a deep divide between Allen Ginsberg, on the one hand, and Anne Sexton, on the other?  Two class meetings per week.

Spring semester.  Visiting Lecturer Pritchett.


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2011, Spring 2012