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Master Syllabus

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Administrative Unit: Language and Communications Studies Department
Course Prefix and Number: ENGL 361
Course Title: Readings in Poetry
Number of:
Credit Hours 3
Lecture Hours 3
Lab Hours 0
Catalog Description:

Study of poetry within a period or from a special perspective (e.g., twentieth-century American poetry, lyric poetry, epic poetry). Prerequisites: ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English literature course. Occasional Offering.

Prerequisite(s) / Corequisite(s):

ENGL 112 and a previous 200-level or higher English literature course.

Course Rotation for Day Program:

Occasional offering.


Six to eight poetry collections in inexpensive college-level editions.

Or, an anthology of poetry, perhaps on a specific topic, supplemented by one to four individual poetry collections.

Although poetry must comprise the bulk of the course focus, a limited amount of readings in other genres may provide context. All works chosen must bear a significant historical, thematic, and/or generic correspondence.

Course Learning Outcomes
  1. Analyze a range of poems.
  2. Explain the characteristics of the genre of poetry, as those characteristics appear in selected poetry.
  3. Identify the historical, cultural, and authorial contexts of selected poetry.
  4. Describe the critical reception of selected poetry.
  5. Write argumentatively about poetry.
  6. Demonstrate revision of argumentative writing about poetry.
Major Topics/Skills to be Covered:
  • The works chosen must bear a significant historical, thematic, and/or generic correspondence.  In discussions, exams, and/or essays, students should be required to productively compare and contrast selected works.
  • Because this course represents an upper-level English elective, it bears a distinctive responsibility for teaching advanced knowledge within the discipline. Students must read and write intensively, and they must engage in serious literary study that includes the use of peer-reviewed scholarship. This course must require advanced students to complete both in class and out of class projects (such as midterms, finals, group reports, quizzes, research papers). The course reading load should be at least 1000 pages, and may comprise less than this minimum only if the instructor is accounting for a significant amount of assigned poetry. 
  • Department policy requires a minimum of 4000 words (about 16 pages) of graded student writing, including an argumentative research essay that incorporates scholarly secondary criticism. Multiple essays should be assigned, and the research essay should account for no more than half of the total assigned page-count for the course.
  • Students must write a series of two literary analysis essays that require students to analyze one or more primary texts. More than two essays may be assigned.
  • Department policy requires that assignments include at least one common reading of a secondary, peer-reviewed article or chapter.
  • Class discussion of the selected works
  • Terminology essential to the study of poetry
  • In class exams, including a final exam that requires students to analyze a range of poetic works and to explain the characteristics of poetry and the historical, cultural, and authorial contexts of the works studied.
  • Instructors may be asked to collect information from the assignments specified in the Major Topics/Skills section. This information will be provided to the English program for evaluation.

Recommended maximum class size for this course: 30

Library Resources:

Online databases are available at the Columbia College Stafford Library.  You may access them using your CougarTrack login and password when prompted.

Prepared by: Peter Monacell Date: April 15, 2015
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 learning outcomes and cover the subjects listed in the Major Topics/Skills to be Covered section. 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.

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