Fall 2017

Make It New

Listed in: English, as ENGL-442


David R. Sofield (Section 01)


[before 1800]  “Make It New”–Ezra Pound’s modernist call to reject late-Victorian poetic sentiment and harmonious measures–was not the first time a poet and those he championed had attempted, with notable success, to change the course of poetry in English.  William Wordsworth had stated in 1798 that poetry should be written in the language men speak, not, as he saw it, in elevated diction in the service of explicit moral instruction.  And roughly two hundred years before that John Donne brought unprecedented dramatic energy and new forms to poems of love and faith.  These three interventions mark critical changes in how poetry would be written in the decades that followed.  This seminar will engage these historic shifts in how poets thought about the subjects of their poems and about the styles appropriate to those subjects.  The course will focus on three innovators and on three poets in the next generation whose work was inflected by them:  Donne and George Herbert, Wordsworth and John Keats, and T.S. Eliot (Pound’s great friend and collaborator) and Anthony Hecht.

English and non-English majors are welcome, as well as sophomores with a strong interest in poetry.  Not open to first-year students.  Limited to 15 students. Fall semester. Professor Sofield.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to junior and senior majors.


Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing, Fine Arts for Non-majors


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2017