This site will be the virtual space for our Texts & Contexts class, Verse / Versus. Here we'll post our microthemes and book reviews, archive our presentations, as well as share poems we find off- or online. We'll use it to disseminate information and communicate our ideas.
This class is designed to introduce you to a variety of poetries and their attendant poetics. We are interested in the ways writers use poetic works to shape, contest, revise, or resist cultural norms, inherited histories, and concepts of aesthetic value. While we will be reading poems for their own aesthetic preoccupations, we are also interested in how they articulate resistive or combative points of view. In short, we will examine how and why poets use their words as weapons.
A survey, this course covers a wide range of material, but is by no means all-encompassing (indeed we will be discussing the varied lacunas of our survey and using this site to point to other kinds of poetries and poetics you might want to explore further.) At its most fundamental level, this course aims to give you a general understanding of poetics and poetry, to familiarize you with a diversity of forms and movements, and to introduce you to some contemporary poets. In so doing, you will not only be equipped to enjoy a variety of poetry, but also to situate it within and against histories of poetic traditions.
Because this is an eloquentia perfecta class, particular attention will be given to your writing, presenting, and participating. This includes writing and thinking online. This site is meant to be a forum in which you can practice and experiment and perfect your online eloquence. You'll have room to critique and respond to the work of your peers, and we'll discuss the ethics and responsibility of this kind of critique as it is done online. Building on your already-developed research techniques, we'll use this site to practice analysis, synthesis, and proper citation, including proper online citation and linking. (The title of this Welcome Page, for instance, slightly modifies a line of a poem we will be reading this semester, Kenneth Koch's "In Love With You".)
In order to post on this site, you'll have to familiarize yourself with wiki syntax. Plenty of information about wikis is available around the web, but you can find most of what you'll need to know through the Help links at the bottom and the top of this page. If you aren't familiar with wikis, don't worry. This site is meant to be a place to practice and refine our skills. I expect some of you will be giving me pointers.
I look forward to our time together this semester.