English 88: INTRODUCTION
Tues/Thurs 1:30-2:50 Kelly Writers House Cafe
American Poetry: Modern and Contemporary
Wreading listserve archive
charles.bernstein @ english.upenn.edu
This course is one of a two-part sequence with English
62 — "20th Century Poetry (But Not from the U.S.)".
Starting in the Fall of 2009, I am breaking up English 88 into
two parts, before and after WW2. See
English 288 for more info.
Required Books (at Penn Book Center)
The New Anthology of American Poetry: Modernisms 1900-1950,
Vol. 2, ed. Steven Gould Axelorod, Camille Roman, and Thomas
Travisano; Rutgers University Press ISBN 0-8135-3164-0
Postmodern American Poetry: A Norton Anthology
ed. Paul Hoover ISBN 0-393-31090-6
Modernisms: A Literary Guide by Peter Nicholls
The "reading workshop" is less concerned with analysis
or explanation of individual poems than with finding ways to
intensify the experience of poetry, of the poetic, through a
consideration of how the different styles and structures and
forms of contemporary poetry can affect the way we see and understand
The syllabus details assigned readings for each session, focused in a way that makes the overall reading manageable. If multiple poets are assigned for a single meeting, the syllabus will suggests that you focus on one or two poems for each of the poets. Note , though, that much of the syllabus provides extensive information for further, entirely optional, readings and research. Finally the syllabus provides a set of questions for each set of readings: keep in mind these are only suggestions for your responses, not questions you are required to answer.
The readings for this workshop are extensive and cannot all be discussed in class. The concept is for you to saturate yourself in 20th-century American poetry.
The syllabus remains in formation throughout the period of the class, in response to changing conditions.. Please be sure to check here for updates and changes.
Please notify me immediately if you find any bad links or
have difficulty playing any soound files.
Poetry on the Web
Check out the Electronic Poetry Center and PennSound.
Reading and listening assignments from the web are listed in the syllabus. When an author is listed as at the EPC, go to "author" (epc.buffalo.edu/authors) section and then to the specific poet. Ubuweb is another important web source. University of Illinois;s Modern American Poetry (MAP) author pages provides excellent critical writing on many of the poets. LION has full-text versions of many of 20th century poets; LION is accessible through the library's electronic resource page.
Poetry at Penn and in Philadelphia
The Kelly Writers House, which is part of the Center for Program in Contemporary Writiting, has many readings and related activities. I will send out notices of readings at KWH and in Philadelphia, via the class listserve; and each of you is also welcome to post such announcements to the list. The best way to appreciate older poetry is to immerse yourself in contemporary poetry, so consider any poetry reading you attend as part of this class and includes reports and comments in your weekly responses and on the list.