English 9174A/B

Adventures in Poetics

Professor Joshua Schuster.
Half Course.

This course covers some of the new, experimental, and sometimes controversial approaches to poetics in recent decades. To get our bearings, we will begin with a brief study of older traditions of poetics (new criticism, structuralism, deconstruction, and historicism). But most of our attention will be concentrated on contemporary arguments for recharging poetics study. Some of these new theories we will study might include: new formalism, new lyric theory, experimental criticism, post-critical reading, conceptual poetics, “weak” aesthetics, ecopoetics, and nonhuman poetics. We will be focusing on a few particular moments of intense demand made on the lyric, at first in England and then with primary concentration on American modernist and contemporary works: Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads, Whitman and Dickinson, modernist American poetry, Language poetry, and contemporary African-American poetics.