Reading Poetry (F11)

 Wilfrid Laurier University
Brantford, Ontario

English 120:
Reading Poetry

RCW 002



Office Hours: Tuesdays 10:00-11:00
Skype Office Hours: TBA

Course Description:

This reading intensive course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the skills and vocabulary necessary to approach poetry from the context of literary studies.  Students will be expected to read at least a chapter a week of Reading Poetry by Tom Furniss and Michael Bath and be prepared to discuss the topics and issues raised in the text every week.

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate comprehension of the essential terms of analysis of poetry and rhetoric (e.g. Enjambment, Caesura, Synecdoche)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of some of the primary schools of analysis that have arisen in the past 150 years regarding poetry (e.g. New Historicism, New Criticism, Feminism)
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the primary periods of literary history (e.g. Neo-Classicism, Renaissance, Modernism)
  • Demonstrate familiarity with some of the primary poetic genres (e.g. Sonnet, Ballad, Ode)
  • Analyze a poem in terms of its structure (i.e. metre, syntax, rhythm, etc.)
  • Analyze a poem in terms of its historical situation

Required Texts:

Furniss, Tom, and Michael Hall.  Reading Poetry: An Introduction.  2nd Edition. London: Prentice Hall, 2007.  ISBN 0582894204

Description of Assignments & Value, Due Dates:

Percent of Final Grade Name of Assignment Description Due Date
40% Content Quizzes Twenty-Two (22) Content Quizzes will be administered in the course.  For every student, the lowest two (2) quizzes will be dropped, making for a total of twenty (20) quizzes that will be applied to the final grade. Throughout the course – See Schedule
10% Participation Participation grade will be wholly based on the professor’s discretion. You can accumulate or lose points towards your participation grade based on your behavior both in class and outside class (eg. Online).  Please see “Participation Rubric” for more information.

The final day of class, we will be looking at two poems of your choosing, using the reading and analytic skills that we have developed over the course.  You will choose from a list of poems that are on the website.  I want you to use the online forum to debate the relative merits of the poems.  The livelier and more frequent your participation in the debate, the higher your grade should be.  Your votes will be sent directly to me at by 11:59 PM Tuesday Oct 4.  Votes after that point will not be accepted.  Voting is a necessary prerequisite for any participation grade.  If you participate in the discussion, but do not vote, you will receive 0 on this assignment.

30% Final Exam The cumulative final will be based on the textbook, lectures and in-class discussions.  You will be expected to deploy the reading and analytic skills you will learn in this course.  The final will be two-part.  The first part will consist of multiple choice questions and the second part will be in the form of a short essay on a poem I will choose from a group of poems that is already up on the website. Scheduled by the Registrar
20% Final Paper The Final Paper will be a short (5 page) analytic research paper.  In this assignment, you will be given a poem to analyze using the techniques that you have learned from the textbook.  Things that you might want to look at may include (but not limited to): metre, rhythm, syntax, figures of speech and tropes (specifically metaphors and images), voice, tone. You will be expected to research that poem, formulate a thesis and argument regarding the poem and present a paper in accordance with MLA guidelines. (If you present a paper without any deviations from MLA guidelines, your paper will receive 3% Bonus Marks.)
A minimum of two sources will be expected.  Acceptable sources include scholarly articles, monographs and scholarly websites.  (Wikipedia is not an acceptable source.)  If you do not provide at least two legitimate external sources, you will be penalized 50%.Please do not submit a “hamburger” or “five paragraph” essay.  If you do submit an essay of this format, you will be penalized 10%.
Tuesday, November 8

Participation Rubric


 (N.B. – Make sure that I write down your name each and every time you participate.  One easy way to do this without obstructing the class is to make yourself a name plate and put it on the front of your desk until I eventually learn your name.)


The following participation rubric is adapted from: Bean, John C. and Dean Paterson “Grading Classroom Participation” CSU Fresno. California State University.  n.d. Web. 11 July 2011.


Holistic Rubric for Scoring Class Participation

10-9 A student receiving a 10 or 9 comes to class prepared; contributes readily to the conversation but doesn’t dominate it: makes thoughtful contributions that advance the conversation; shows interest in and respect for others’ views; participates actively in small groups.

8-7  Comes to class prepared and makes thoughtful comments when called upon, contributes occasionally without prompting: shows interest in and respect for others’ views; participates actively in small groups. A 7 score may also be appropriate to an active participant whose contributions are less developed or cogent than those of a 8 but still advance the conversation.

6-5 A student receiving a 5 participates in discussion, but in a problematic way. Such students may talk too much, make rambling or tangential contributions, continually interrupt the instructor with digressive questions, bluff their way when unprepared, or otherwise dominate discussions, not acknowledging cues of annoyance from instructor or students. Students in this category often profit from a conference with the instructor.

4-3 A student receiving a 4 comes to class prepared, but does not voluntarily contribute to discussions and gives only minimal answers when called upon. Nevertheless these students show interest in the discussion, listen attentively, and take notes. Students in this category may be shy or introverted. The instructor may choose to give such students a 5 if they participate fully in small group discussions or if they make progress in overcoming shyness as the course progresses. Sympathetic counseling of such students often helps.

2-0 Students in this range often seem on the margins of the class and may have a negative effect on the participation of others. Students receiving a 2 often don’t participate because they haven’t read the material or done the homework. Students receiving a 1 or 0 may be actually disruptive, radiating negative energy via hostile or bored body language, or be overtly rude.


Weekly Reading & Presentation Schedule:


Date Topic/Readings Poems Assignments
Tuesday September 13 Intro – Read Ode to a Nightingale (et al) Ode to a Nightingale
Thursday September 15 Chapter One – What is Poetry? How Do We Read It? Ode to a Nightingale, The Garden of Earthly Delights Quiz 1
T Sept 20 Chapter Two – Rhythm and Metre Lord Randal (on pg 261-2), The Twa Corbies, The Skye Boat Song, Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall Quiz 2
R Sept 22 Chapter Two – Rhythm and Metre When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, To a Poor Old Woman, O Sweet Spontaneous Quiz 3
T Sept 27 Chapter Three – Significant Form: Metre and Syntax (to Page 62) Paradise Lost 2.910-20, Paradise Lost 7.210-18 Quiz 4
R Sept 29 Chapter Three – Significant Form: Metre and Syntax Easter Wings,  Swan and Shadow, Home at Grasmere (567-79), The Prelude (2.267-76) Quiz 5
T Oct 4 Chapter Four – Creative Form and the Arbitrary Nature of Language God’s Grandeur, Meeting at Night, In a Station of the Metro, Winter My Secret, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death Quiz 6, Choice of Final Poems Due
R Oct 6 Chapter Five – Figurative Language (to Page 115) Return to Paradise Lost Quiz 7
T Oct 11 Chapter Five – Figurative Language Song, The Sick Rose, Up-Hill, To the Memory of William Shakespeare Quiz 8
R Oct 13 Chapter Six – Poetic Metaphor (to Page 139) Sonnet 73, A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, Essay on Criticism (219-32) Quiz 9
T Oct 18 Chapter Six – Poetic Metaphor Song, Prelude (247-64), Ode to the West Wind, Dover Beach, Sea Rose, The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, Quiz 10
R Oct 20 Chapter Seven – Hearing Voices in Poetic Texts Tichborne’s Elegy,  A Slumber Did my Spirit Seal, The Negro Speaks of Rivers, My Last Duchess Quiz 11
T Oct 25 Chapter Eight – Tone and Irony Ozymandias, In the Children’s Hospital, Orion Quiz 12
R Oct 27 Chapter Nine – Ambiguity Redemption, A Red Red Rose, A Mist Leaves No Scar Quiz 13
T Nov 1 Chapter Ten – Introducing Contexts September Song, Ode to a Nightingale, Ode to a Skylark Quiz 14
R Nov 3 Chapter Eleven – Genre Lord Randal, Ode to a Nightingale, Sonnet 73 (ALL REPEATS) Quiz 15
T Nov 8 Chapter Twelve – The Sonnet (to Page 292) Sonnet 130, Sonnet 29, Astrophil and Stella Quiz 16, Final Paper Due
R Nov 10 Chapter Twelve – The Sonnet When I Consider How My Light is Spent, On the Sonnet, The Rites for Cousin Vit, (God’s Grandeur) Quiz 17
T Nov 15 Chapter Thirteen – Allusion, Influence and Intertextuality Ode to Psyche, I Think I was Enchanted, somewhere I have never travelled Quiz 18
R Nov 17 Chapter Fourteen – Poetry, Discourse, History (to Page 340) An Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland Quiz 19
T Nov 22 Chapter Fourteen – Poetry, Discourse, History Sonnet 16 (Milton), The Curse of Cromwell Quiz 20
R Nov 24 Chapter Fifteen – The Locations of Poetry Ars Poetica, Theme for English B, Listen Mr Oxford Don Quiz 21
T Nov 29 Chapter Sixteen – Closure, Pluralism and Undecidability The Scholars, A Slumber Did My Spirit Seal, Quiz 22
R Dec 1 Open Topic Up for Vote



Plagiarism, Academic and Non-Academic Misconduct in EN 120 BR:

Students are expected to familiarize themselves with Wilfrid Laurier University’s regulations regarding academic misconduct, non-academic misconduct and plagiarism.  This course will be using to check for plagiarism.  If plagiarism is determined to have occurred – intentional or not, malicious or not – the student will receive 0% on that assignment.  Further, the choice to send the student up to the Dean’s Office for further disciplinary action will be completely at the discretion of the instructor.


An assignment is considered “late” if the student and I have not agreed at least 24 hours beforehand to an alternate deadline to the one noted on this course outline.  Students handing in essays late will be docked 5% per calendar day until the essay is handed in or until 10 calendar days have passed, at which time the assignment will receive 0%.  Extenuating medical circumstances will, obviously, be grounds for compassionate waiver of late penalties. Do not hand in papers to administrative offices.  If you hand in a paper under my door, or in my mailbox, then your paper will be docked marks until such time as I retrieve it, which could be up to a week later.


Accessible Learning

Students with disabilities or special needs are advised to contact Laurier’s Accessible Learning Office for information regarding its services and resources.  Students are encouraged to review the Calendar for information regarding all services available on campus.


Academic Misconduct

Wilfrid Laurier University uses software that can check for plagiarism.  Students may be required to submit their written work in electronic form and have it checked for plagiarism.


Clicker Registration

You are responsible for purchasing your clicker from the Laurier Bookstore.

You are required to register your clicker online via MyLearningSpace ( When you login you will see a course called “Clicker Registration –Fall 2011”. To register your clicker, follow these steps:

  1. Enter the “Clicker Registration –Fall 2011” course by clicking on the title
  2. From the homepage, click on the “Click here to register your clicker” link
  3. Begin the quiz by clicking the “Start Quiz” link
  4. Enter your 8-character serial number (located on the back of your clicker, under the barcode) into the text box. SAVE YOUR ANSWER and click “Go To Submit Quiz” then click on “Submit Quiz”

Please note: Failure to register your clicker in this way may result in loss of clicker marks. You MUST complete the quiz to have your clicker marks assigned to you. If you registered your clicker in previous terms, you MUST register it again for this term.

You will be able to confirm your clicker registration within the “Clicker Registration – Winter Fall” area in MyLearningSpace. Please watch the News for information on when and how to do this.

Please direct any questions about this process or about clickers in general to

A clicker troubleshooting station is available at the help desk in the library.



FOOT Patrol


After evening classes call 886-FOOT for a walk or drive home – No Walk is Too Short or Too Long!!!@