Summer 2004
Fully Enrolled

HUMS 620
Poetry Workshop: Fun with the Sonnet

Nelson,Marilyn R.

06/14/2004 - 06/18/2004
Note: Special Schedule -

Fisk Hall 412

In this course, we will study some of the great sonnets written in English, examining how each transforms the inherited form into an individual and individualist poem. We will observe the surprisingly varied rhyme schemes and sonic patterns, and the infinite variety of moves a poet can make to negotiate the volta, or "turn," that sudden leap which introduces into the poem the possibility of transformation. We will see how "sonneteering" can become a game in which form configures meaning just as meaning shapes form, how sonnets speak to each other across the years, and how different poets have used sonnets to address different struggles, from romantic love to spiritual crisis to social issues.

We will study sonnets by Shakespeare, Donne, Milton, Blake, Wordsworth, Shelley, Keats, Browning, Hardy, Hopkins, Lazarus, Yeats, E. A. Robinson, James Weldon Johnson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Robert Frost, Elinor Wylie, Marianne Moore, Claude McKay, and the instructor. Texts will include the PENGUIN BOOK OF SONNETS, and students will need a rhyming dictionary.

During the week each student will write 12 sonnets, six of which will be discussed in workshop. Grades will be based on class participation, six brief prose assignments, and a portfolio of 10 revised and polished sonnets. As the culmination of the course, we will give a public reading of our sonnets on Friday, June 18, 2004, 6:30-8 p.m., on the Wesleyan campus in a room to be announced.

Special schedule: Class will meet Monday-Wednesday; Friday 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Thursday, June 17th, 8:30 a.m.-3 p.m. As the culmination of the course, we will give a public reading of our sonnets on Friday, June 18, 2004, 6:30-8 p.m., on the Wesleyan campus in a room to be announced.

Registration and withdrawal deadline: Friday, May 28, 2004.


Marilyn Nelson (B.A. University of California, Davis; M.A. University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D. University of Minnesota); Poet Laureate of the state of Connecticut, professor of English at University of Delaware, and professor of English emerita at University of Connecticut. She is author of For the Body (1978), Mama's Promises (1985), The Homeplace (1990), Magnificat (1994), The Fields of Praise: New and Selected Poems (1997), and Carver: A Life in Poems (2001).


ENROLLMENT INFORMATION

Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Phillis Levin, THE PENGUIN BOOK OF THE SONNET (Penguin USA), Paperback

Merriam-Webster, WEBSTER'S COMPACT RHYMING DICTIONARY (Merriam-Webster), Paperback

READING MATERIALS AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323

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