Weeks 13-15: Beyond High Modernism

Important: Research Paper assigned for May 18.

Monday, May 7

  • In class: lecture and discussion of William Carlos Williams’ poetry
  • Assignment: Read E. E. Cummings’ poetry

Wednesday, May 9

  • In class: lecture and discussion of E. E. Cummings’ poetry
  • Assignment: Read Marianne Moore’s poetry

Friday, May 11

  • In class: lecture and discussion of Marianne Moore’s poetry
  • Assignment: Read Robert Frost’s poetry

Monday, May 14

  • In class: lecture and discussion of Robert Frost’s poetry
  • Assignment: Read Wallace Stevens’ poetry

Wednesday, May 16

  • In class: lecture and discussion of Wallace Stevens’ poetry
  • Assignment: Read Claude McKay’s poetry

Friday, May 18

  • In class: Class does not meet. Post an 1-paragraph analysis of one of Claude McKay’s poems in our Facebook Group before midnight.
  • Assignment: Read Langston Hughes’ poetry

Monday, May 21

Turn in an electronic copy of your Research Paper in this shared folder and bring a printout to class.

  • In class: lecture and discussion of Langston Hughes’ poetry
  • Assignment: Read Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry

Wednesday, May 23

  • In class: lecture and discussion of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poetry
  • Assignment: Read Theodore Roethke’s poetry

Friday, May 25

  • In class:
    • lecture and discussion of Theodore Roethke’s poetry
    • final exam review

Research Paper: Modernist Poetics


The goal of this assignment is to formulate a Modernist poet’s poetics and demonstrate it through the analysis of several representative works.


In order for you to successfully write this essay I suggest the following steps:

  1. Select one of the poets we haven’t studied (or are going to study) from our anthology.
  2. Research the poet, life, poetry, affiliations with poets and poetic movements, essays or manifestos written by the poet, and articles written about the poet’s work.
  3. Formulate what you think his/her poetics is all about. This is your thesis statement.
  4. Choose 1 long poem or 2-3 short poems by that poet and analyze and interpret it/them in light of those poetics.
  5. Write your essay. Proving your thesis, supporting it with selected analysis of the poems.


The final paper should be about 1000 words long (4 pages) in MLA format (typed, double-spaced, with 1” margins, and a 12-point legible font). Any use of sources must be documented in impeccable MLA format—parenthetical citation (author’s last name & page number) and works cited page.

A printed copy of this essay is due in class on Friday, May 18.


Your essay will be evaluated in the following areas, with areas 1-3 carrying most of the weight of the grade:

  1. Assignment (fulfilling requirements, quality of thesis, and depth of analysis),
  2. Organization (clarity of thesis, thorough paragraphing, overall organization),
  3. Development (relevance of claims, adequacy of support, and textual evidence),
  4. Sentence Structure, Word Choice, and Grammar (weaknesses will be identified in these areas, but they will not affect grade significantly unless they get in the way of understanding the essay).

An essay that satisfies all the requirements of the assignment with a clear sense of organization and adequate development earns a “C” in this class. An essay that achieves the goals at an above average level of proficiency, with only minor problems in one or two areas earns a “B.” The “A” is reserved for nearly flawless, elegant essays that excel in all the criteria described above. Essays that do not fulfill the minimum requirements for the assignment earn a “D.” Essays that are not turned in or contain plagiarism earn an “F.”

Attempts to cheat by appropriating someone else’s essay and passing it as your own will result in an “F” in the course.

Week 11: Into the Wasteland

Monday, April 23

  • In class: Discussion of The Waste Land
  • Assignment: Waste Land Memes
    • Create two memes with the following parameters, one from your assigned section of the poem, one from any part of the poem:
      • The text must quote, paraphrase, touch on, or riff on an excerpt from your assigned section of The Waste Land.
      • The image can be anything you want (as long as it isn’t sexist, racist, ableist, or otherwise offensive). You can even insert text from The Waste Land on an established image macro, or other kind of meme (such as a GIF, comic, or other popular format).
      • The goal of this meme is to make an insightful, potentially humorous comment on that portion of the poem.
    • Share a draft of your memes in our Facebook Group before class on Wednesday, April 25.


Wednesday, April 25

  • In class: Discussion of Waste Land Memes
  • Assignment:
    • Revise your memes and post in our Facebook Group and on Twitter, using the hashtag #wastelandmemes.
    • Read the chapter on W.H. Auden in our textbook.

Friday, April 27

  • Academic Recess – Justas

Week 10: “April is the cruelest month”

Monday, April 16

  • In class: discuss “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
  • Assignment: re-read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”

Wednesday, April 18

  • In class: discuss “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”
  • Assignment: Read “The Waste Land”

Friday, April 20

  • In class: discuss “The Waste Land”
  • Assignment: Read assigned sections of “The Waste Land” and write a 1-2 paragraph analysis of what T.S. Eliot is saying in it and what it contributes to the overall poem. Post in our Facebook Group before class on Monday.

Week 8: Modernism in Paris

Monday, April 2

  • In class: finish discussing Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.
  • Assignment: Read pgs. 366-387 in our textbook (Introduction and selections from The Cantos).

Wednesday, April 4

  • In class: discussion of The Cantos and “On the Flyleaf of Pound’s Cantos
  • Assignment:
    • Read Chapter on Gertrude Stein in our textbook (176-201).
    • Write a response to one of Stein’s Tender Buttons and post in our Facebook group.

Friday, April 6

  • In class: discussion of Gertrude Stein’s poetry.
  • Assignment: Read Chapter on Mina Loy.


  • Watch Midnight in Paris (2011)
  • Write a 1-paragraph response to it.
  • Publish it in our Facebook Group.
  • You will earn bonus credit for this.


Week 7: Modernism

Monday, March 26

In class: Lecture on Modernism and Ezra Pound, The River Merchant’s Wife: A Letter, Hugh Selwyn Mauberley.


Wednesday, March 28

In class: discussion of Hugh Selwyn Mauberley


  • Read intro to William Butler Yeats
  • Review Hugh Selwyn Mauberley for Monday.
  • Read pgs. 366-387 in our textbook (Introduction and selections from The Cantos).

Week 5: Imagism

Monday, March 12

In class:


Wednesday, March 14

In class:

Friday, March 16

In class: Discuss poetry and meaning critical vocabulary and Amy Lowell


Week 4: Early Modernists

Monday, March 5

In Class:


Wednesday, March 7

In class: discuss A.E. Housman and E.A. Robinson’s poetry.


Friday, March 9

In class: discuss Thomas Hardy’s poetry.