ENG 207: Studies in Poetry

Course description

The course will focus on key literary figures from Europe and the US aiming to provide the students with a general ability to access works of poetry and create texts. While the main thrust of the course will fall on Central European poerty of the twentieth century, a recourse to previous tradition and movements will be often necessary. It will give us an opportunity to widen the scope to selected classics of the genre in order to foot our interpretations in a wider social and political context.

Course information

The course will consist of two main themes which will support each other. The first focus will be socio-cultural. Its aim is to provide students with key information regarding literary history, theoretical concepts and crucial terms from the field of poetics. Beginning with modernist and avant-garde poetics, such as surrealism, futurism or dada, we will explore the roots of these poetic schools, which come mainly from the French symbolist movement of the late nineteeth century. We will attempt a fresh reading of such well-known classics as Charles Baudelaire and Arthur Rimbaud. To show the subsequent development triggered by the interwar avantgarde we shall look at the modernism of T.S. Eliot and briefly introduce students to the experimental poetics of the post-war era. Finally, underground writers such as Havel and Bondy shall be analyzed and discussed, together with Czech New Wave, and experimental poetry before and after the year 1989.

Rather than an exhaustive overview, the course aims at increasing the accessibility of poetry to students. The second theme of the course will consist mainly in a „practical approach“ to poetry. Students will be encouraged to develop and share their imagination, draw on their dreams, create their own texts, try out different literary styles, attach texts to images, photographs, to create collages and to interpret and possibly even recite. This part of the course is very open to student participation and discussion.