The Experience of Literature

Summer Session 3, 2013

ENGL 2030-007 | MTuWTh 1200-200 | PH 322

Text | Course Policies & Procedures | Course Requirements | Agenda | Poetry Terms | Poetry Terms Power Point | Study Sheet for First Exam | Study Sheet for Second Exam | Take-Home Final Exam in Word


About This Course

In this Summer incarnation of ENGL 2030, we will concentrate exclusively on poetry, a focus that will make the reading doable and practical for a summer course. Although 2030 students sometimes come to class unprepared to discuss assigned reading, such will not be the case in this course. Each and every poem we examine will be read and talked about in class.


Dr. David Lavery

Office: PH 316 | Office Hours: MTuWTh, 900-1100; MW, 200-300; other times by arrangement | E-mail: | Office Phone/Voice-Mail: 615-898-5648 | Home Page:

Dr. David Lavery is Director of Graduate Studies and Professor in the English Department at MTSU (1993- ). The recipient of the University's 2006 Distinguished Research Award, he is the author of over one hundred and fifty published essays, chapters, and reviews, he is author / co-author / editor / co-editor of over twenty books, including Joss Whedon, A Creative Portrait: From Buffy the Vampire Slayer to The Avengers, TV Goes to Hell: An Unofficial Road Map of Supernatural, The Essential Cult Television Reader, and The Essential Sopranos Reader. The co-convener of international conferences on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the work of Joss Whedon and on The Sopranos, co-founder of the Whedon Studies Association, and founding co-editor of the journals Slayage: The Online International Journal of Buffy Studies and Critical Studies in Television, he has lectured around the world on the subject of television (Australia, Turkey, the UK, Portugal, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany) and has been a guest/source for the BBC, NPR, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, The New York Times, A Folha de Sao Paulo (Brazil), Publica (Portugal), Information (Netherlands), AP, The Toronto Star, USA Today. From 2006-2008, he taught at Brunel University in London.


TEXT: No book is required for this course. All course reading is contained in the Power Points.



Class format: We will follow a Power Point-guided / lecture / discussion format during most class meetings. Manuscript form: All written assignments must be submitted by the assigned date as a Microsoft Word or Rich Text file via the appropriate D2L Drop Box. Please name the file with your own last name (for example: lavery.doc). Please be sure to carefully edit and proofread your own work. Do not simply rely on your computer's spell checker. (Go here to read a poem that demonstrates the untrustworthiness of spell checkers.) A list of "Things to be Aware of" as you write your essays can be found here. A Power Point of it is available here. Essay Evaluation: I will evaluate your essays using a grading scale which can be found here (PDF file, Acrobat Reader required). Participation & involvement: Please come prepared for each day’s class. I encourage you to become an active participant in class discussion and to ask constructive and meaningful questions at all times--even when I appear to be "lecturing." Please do not save your best questions / comments for after class, as students so often do. Attendance: Regular attendance is essential to the ongoing progress of the course. Two absences will be permitted. A third absence may result in the loss of a letter grade. A fourth absence may result in failure of the course. bluebullet Cell Phones/Computers Use of cell phones during class is strictly forbidden. Use of lap tops/netbooks/tablets (for note-taking purposes exclusively) is allowed only if prior permission is secured from me. Inclement Weather Policy: Go here. Plagiarism / Cheating: The unacknowledged use of the words / ideas / insights / original research of another is, of course, prohibited. Do not assume that you may plagiarize without fear of punishment. Should I catch you plagiarizing, or cheating in any way, you will receive a grade of "0" on the assignment in question, the violation may be reported to University authorities, and you may fail the course, as several students in past semesters have done. Students with Disabilities: Any student with a disability will be given all the rights and privileges guaranteed under the Americans with Disabilities Act if he/she is registered with Disabled Student Services (call/contact John Harris, KUC 120/2783). University Writing Center: The University Writing Center, sponsored by the English Department and staffed by full-time and adjunct faculty and graduate teaching assistants, is located in the Walker Library, Room 362 (904-8237). At the UWC you can get constructive help with a variety of writing problems, from pre-writing to organization to grammatical errors. (Please be aware, however, that the UWC does not do proofreading.) Grading Scale: 90-99%=A | 80-89%=B | 70-79%=C | 60-69%=D | 0-59%=F



Critical / Interpretive Essays: You owe me two (2) critical essays of not less than 1,000 words in length. Essay 1 will present a reading/interpretation of a single poem (or two comparable poems by different poems). Essay 2 will concern itself with the work of a single poet. A sample student essay (on Langston Hughes), written for this course at MTSU (it received an "A"), can be found here. See Agenda for due dates. Essay 1: 20% of your grade; Essay 2: 30% of your grade.

Exams: Two in-class cognitive-memory matching tests (on authors, poems, terms). Each 10% of your grade.

Take Home Final Exam: A take-home exam, consisting of a menu of topics, from which you will select two, responding with essay answers. These topics will all be "leading questions," intended to inspire your own comprehensive synthesis of course ideas, questions, problems. 20% of your grade.

Class Participation: I expect you to be actively involved in each day's conversation. In addition, you may be asked to lead in-class discussion of a poem. 10% of your grade.




Week 1

Mtg. | Date | Subject | Links | Requirements

1 | 7/15/13 | Introduction to the Course; Introduction to Poetry [1] | Power Points: Syllabus; Introduction 1

2 | 7/16/13 | Introduction to Poetry [2] | Power Point: Introduction 2

3 | 7/17/13 | Introduction to Poetry [3] | Power Point: Introduction 3

4 | 7/18/13 | A. E. Housman (1859-1936) and Edwin Arlington Robinson (1869-1935) | Power Point: Housman/Robinson

Week 2

Mtg. | Date | Subject | Links | Requirements

5 | 7/22/13 | Emily Dickinson (1830-1886); screening of Voices and Visions film | Power Point: Dickinson | Voices and Visions Film

6 | 7/23/13 | William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) | Power Point: Yeats

7 | 7/24/13 | Robert Frost (1874-1963); screening of Voices and Visions film | Power Point: Frost | Voices and Visions Film

8 | 7/25/13 | Wallace Stevens (1879-1955); screening of Voices and Visions film | Power Point: Stevens | Voices and Visions Film

Week 3

Mtg. | Date | Subject | Links | Requirements

9 | 7/29/13 | e. e. cummings (1894-1962) | Power Point: cummings

10 | 7/30/13 | Langston Hughes (1902-1967); screening of Voices and Visions film | Without Sanctuary | Harlem Renaissance | Hughes ( | Model Hughes Essay | Power Point: Hughes | Voices and Visions Film | Essay 1 Due

11 | 7/31/13 | Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979); screening of Voices and Visions film | Power Point: Bishop | Voices and Visions Film | First In-Class Exam

12 | 8/1/13 | Poems About Animals | Power Point: Animals

Week 4

Mtg. | Date | Subject | Links | Requirements

13 | 8/5/13 | Gary Snyder (1930- ) | Gary Snyder on Poetry and Ecology (YouTube) | "About Gary Snyder" (Modern American Poetry) | Power Point: Snyder

14 | 8/6/1 | Sylvia Plath (1932-1963) | Power Point: Plath | Voices and Visions Film

15 | 8/7/13 | Mary Oliver (1935- ) | "Starlings in Winter" (blog entry) | Power Point: Oliver

16 | 8/8/13 | No Class

Week 5

Mtg. | Date | Subject | Links | Requirements

16 | 8/12/13 | Singer/Songwriters as Poets: Jackson Browne (1948- ) | Power Points: Singer/Songwriters | Browne | Essay 2 Due by 900 A.M.

17 | 8/13/13 | Singer/Songwriters as Poets: Leonard Cohen (1934- ) | Power Point: Cohen

18 | 8/14/13 | Billy Collins | Power Point: Collins

19 | 8/15/13 | Second In-Class Exam