Department of English

University of Toronto

ENG349H1S L0101

ENG349H1S  L0101   MWF10
Contemporary Poetry
Instructor: Dr. M. Boughn
Office Location: Jackman Humanities Building, Room TBA
Email: TBA

Brief Description of Course: The idea of “contemporary poetry” is vague. Many of the poets listed in the English Department catalog under the description of this course have been dead for years, including A.R. Ammons, Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, and Ted Hughes (and some of them—A.R. Ammons, Robert Lowell?—have never been contemporary. (What exactly is contemporary? Of the present . . . )
My solution to the dilemma is to choose some poets I like and that have been important to my own work. The only dead one is Spicer—the rest are still writing contemporary poetry. Spicer is included because his poetry will always be contemporary. Joanne Kyger and Alice Notley are U.S. poets; Tom Raworth is English; Victor Coleman and Fred Wah are Canadian.
Rather than use an anthology of isolated poems, I have chosen to use a book by each poet. The Spicer book I will provide in facsimile form. The others you must purchase (or acquire however you acquire books). I thought to order them through the U of T bookstore but the mark up is huge. My recommendation now is that you buy them through where you can get them for approximately 10-15 dollars less. If that is going to be a problem for you, let me know. The exception is the Coleman book which I will arrange to have provided to the class at a deep discount.

Required Reading: Jack Spicer, Language; Joanne Kyger, In Time;Tom Raworth, Windmills in Flames: Old & New Poems; Alice Notley, The Descent of Alette;Victor Coleman and Fred Wah

Method of Evaluation:
1 short essay (2-3 pp.) 25%
1 long essay (6-8 pp.) 35%
1 term test 25%
participation 15%

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