Skip to Main Content


Master Syllabus

Print this Syllabus « Return to Previous Page

Administrative Unit: Humanities Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 211
Course Title: Introduction to Poetry
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

A comprehensive introduction to the elements of poetry. Prerequisite: ENGL 112. G.E.Occasional offering.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

ENGL 112

Course Rotation for Day Program: Occasional offering.
Text(s): Most current editions of the following:

 Most current editions of the following:

Readings should feature some canonical authors and works and should include one or two well-known, single-author collections. One of the anthologies below is recommended:


Poetry: An Introduction
By Meyer, Michael, ed. (Bedford Books of St. Martin’s)
Poems, Poets, Poetry
By Ed. Vendler, Helen (Bedford)
The Norton Introduction to Poetry
By Eds. Booth, Alison et. al (Norton)
Western Wind: An Inroduction to Poetry
By Eds.Mason, David and Nims, John Frederick (McGraw Hill)
One or two well-known, single-author collections of poetry

Course Objectives
  • To gain growing mastery of the elements of poetry.
  • To practice basic critical analysis and evaluation of poetry in a variety of ways.
  • To demonstrate knowledge of poetry in a variety of periods and poetic genres, including short lyrics and longer narrative poems.
Measurable Learning
  • Identify and distinguish among poetic elements.
  • Evaluate the elements of poetry as they appear repeatedly in different periods and poetic forms.
  • Demonstrate through discussion and written work textual analysis of poetry.
  • Demonstrate familiarity with the history of poetic forms
  • Demonstrate command of basic appropriate literary terms and elements.
Topical Outline:
  • Departmental policy requires a minimum of 3,000 words (about 12 pages) of graded student writing for this course.
  • Overview of the elements of poetry: speaker, setting and situation, diction (word choice, word order, and tone), images, figures of speech, symbol, allegory, irony, sounds, patterns of rhythm, poetic forms, free verse, and other.
  • A variety of canonical and extracanonical works.
  • Innovations of modernist poetry and free verse, in comparison with nineteenth century poetry and poetry from at least one other previous century.
  • Short Poetic forms, which may include fragment, epigram, lyric, elegy, and ode; textual analysis stressing the elements essential to these forms.
  • Longer poetic forms, which may include meditations, sequences, and the epic; textual analysis stressing the elementts essential to these forms.
  • The poetry collection
  • Discussion of and/or assignments relating to the oral presentation of poetry.
  • In-class exams, including a final.

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 25

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Peter Monacell Date: May 5, 2014
NOTE: The intention of this master course syllabus is to provide an outline of the contents of this course, as specified by the faculty of Columbia College, regardless of who teaches the course, when it is taught, or where it is taught. Faculty members teaching this course for Columbia College are expected to facilitate learning pursuant to the course objectives and cover the subjects listed in the topical outline. However, instructors are also encouraged to cover additional topics of interest so long as those topics are relevant to the course's subject. The master syllabus is, therefore, prescriptive in nature but also allows for a diversity of individual approaches to course material.

Office of Academic Affairs