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Poetry Workshop

ENG 409

Poetry Workshop

  • Course ID:ENG 409
  • Semesters:1
  • Department:English
  • Teachers:Michael Ortiz

Description and Objectives

ENG 409 Poetry Workshop

September 2022

Course Description: In this class we will study the history, form, and variety of American and English lyric poetry. We will read widely to trace the development of the lyric in its Renaissance, Neo-classical, Romantic, and Modernist stages. We will then write and present lyrics of our own composition based on each of these historical periods. As well, we will read the major works of the 19th century English poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins with an eye to appreciate his concentrated style of verse as an example of how poetry delivers language in its maximumly pressured forms of meaning that are worthy of contemplating for cognitive delight. We will also explore how the poet’s voice arises out of metrical variation, tone, diction, and imagery. We will write short papers with a thesis expressing just how metrical form gives shapes to a unique vision and voice of a given poem.

The last six weeks of the class we will slacken the pace of reading poems, and concentrate on writing them with the goal of producing a portfolio of poems that will count towards the final exam.

Course Schedule:



7: Meter, Imagery, Diction, Tone; Principles of Scansion

11: Ballads; Sonnets; Wyatt, Marlowe, Shakespeare

18: The Metaphysicals: Donne; Herbert; Marvell; Vaughan

26: John Milton; The Neo-Classicals; Johnson; Dryden


3: The Romantics: Blake; Burns; Wordsworth; Coleridge

11: Byron; Shelley; Keats; Emerson; Dickinson

17: The Victorians: Arnold; Browning; Tennyson; Housman

24:  The Moderns: Yeats; Frost; Stevens; Pound; Auden

31: TS Eliot; Dylan Thomas



3:  Couplet

7:  Sonnet

14: Villanelle

21: Flag Football

28: Ode (classes resume after break)



5: Vers libre



Course Composition:

 We have about 14 (fourteen) weeks of classes this semester. You have a writing assignment due on the following weeks listed below. You are required to turn in your paper, either by hand or email, whether or not you are in class that day. Papers will–to start–be only one typed page. They should have a clear thesis, and ample citation of the text. In addition, for the first 5 (five) papers, you will need to cite a secondary source found either on JSTOR or our school library. We will follow the MLA format. We will also go over this in class. Please bookmark Purdue’s Online Writing Lab for methods of citation:






























100 Best-Loved Poems (Dover Editions, 1995)

Hopkins, Poems and Prose, (Everyman’s Library, 1995)


Course Requirements

See Syllabus.

Successful Students

Students will do well when they remember Ezra Pound’s dictum:

“Man reading should be man intensely alive. The book should be a ball of light in one’s hand.”

–Guide to Kulchur (1938), p. 60