Rachel Blau DuPlessis
English 970: 01 Ideas and Forms in Literature/ Gender, Poetry, Poetics

Temple University, Department of English
Graduate Program
Spring 2001
English 970: 01 Ideas and Forms in Literature/ Gender, Poetry, Poetics
Meeting Time: Tuesday 1:00- 3:30; Meeting Place: 1138 Anderson Hall
Instructor: Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Office Hours: Tuesdays 9-10:30 and Thursdays 11-1:30, and other days, on a week by week basis, always by appointment in 954 Anderson. Phone: 215-204-1810 (Temple, voice mail). e-mail: rdupless@astro.temple.edu.

Course Description: Case Studies in Gender, Poetry and Poetics in Twentieth Century Writing.

Taking three sites for investigation and spending three-four weeks on each, this course will discuss poems and poetics, examining the gender issues that occur in literary texts and in their surround--manifesto claims, group formations, critical writing and letters by poets, and other institutions of poetry as a practice. The three sites will be 1) early Anglo-American modernism (1910-1925/30)--considering work by Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Mina Loy, H.D., Marianne Moore 2) post-WWII United States "Projective" verse of the 1950s, considering mainly Charles Olson but also Frances Boldereff and Robert Creeley 3) the New York School, {SEE REVISION the "uptown" work of John Ashbery, and} the "downtown" St. Marks formation of the 1960s-1970s and later, with poetry by Ted Berrigan and Alice Notley and Anne Waldman being a focus. Alice Notley will be in residence for a week in February under the auspices of the Creative Writing Program, and we will invite her to talk to us about some of these issues. We will head up the course with some feminist theory about poetry. My original plan for doing French Surrealism in addition to the three formations considered above had to be scrapped when I actually looked at the course and its time frames.

This course will offer the opportunity for original research, argument and critical thinking. Students have a choice of two exploratory papers of about 10-15 pp. or one (circa) 30 page paper conceived of as a critical intervention (with the ultimate goal of having publishable work). In addition, some other pages of writing or preparation will occur: 5 critical summaries, one oral report on readings in Olson's poetry, and one letter about your research plans. Class discussion and oral reports will be based on the summaries.

By gender issues in literature I mean at least ideas and representations of maleness and femaleness, manhood, womanhood, femininity and masculinity, ideas of queering or destabilizing gender binaries and normative sexuality, uses of female, male and ambiguous figures in poetry, gender ideologies and their social and theoretical resonance, sexualities, and debates around sexuality in modernity, including issues of representation. Most of these issues were put into play by varieties of feminist criticism and gay and lesbian criticism. Ideas of gender (etc.) are not static and they alter over time, by virtue of changing historical conditions, different ideological models and shifts in social norms. They may be contradictory in the work of an individual poet, as well. Gender materials can be marked inside a literary text. Emphasis on gender/ sexuality will not be exclusive, for we will, if necessary, examine and incorporate attention to other social locations.

Epigraphs for the course:

"In proposing gender as a basic problem and an essential category in cultural and historical analysis, feminists have recast the issue of women's relative identity as equally an issue for men, who, upon ceasing to be mankind, become, precisely, men. Thus gender has emerged as a problem that is always implicit in any work." Myra Jehlen, "Gender." In Critical Terms for Literary Study, ed. Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990, 265.

From an interview by Anne Waldman & Jim Cohn of Ted Berrigan (August 1978):
"AW: I was talking to Diane di Prima last week and she said that so many of the talented women of that time and place (New York City or San Francisco in the fifties) who could've blossomed, didn't because they were uninformed. They just weren't getting the information from the so-called master and male poets.

TB: They didn't know how to convert this male information to female value. … But it was true, it wasn't a very good time for women." In Nice to See You: Homage to Ted Berrigan. Ed. Anne Waldman. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1991, 107.

Books were ordered at the Temple University Bookstore, SAC. You can also probably go on-line and get them. For example, I've heard that B&N online is cheaper than our Barnes and Noble store. You may be able to get some of these books, used, via <Amazon.com> There is also a good amount of material reserve that you will have to negotiate variously. When work is otherwise unavailable, it will be provided for you.

Books (required)
T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Poems. Penguin
Mina Loy. The Lost Lunar Baekeker: Poems of Mina Loy. Noonday. Also on reserve
Charles Olson, The Collected Poems of Charles Olson, Excluding Maximus. University of California Press. Also on reserve.
{John Ashbery, Flow Chart. Noonday. Also on reserve}
Anne Waldman, IOVIS (Book I), Coffee House Press
Alice Notley, The Descent of Alette. Penguin.
Ted Berrigan, The Sonnets. Penguin. Earlier (Grove) edition on reserve

also ordered:
Janet Lyon. Manifestoes: Provocations of the Modern. Cornell University Press. On reserve
Rachel Blau DuPlessis, The Pink Guitar: Writing as Feminist Practice. Routledge.

Work due in course
1 .Procedures for the course. All students will write five one-page summaries of one of the critical articles. To do this, you will follow the guidelines, attached. Pick articles that appeal to you intellectually, because this work, over five weeks, will help you develop and write your papers. These will be collected every relevant week. This is noted with (Critical reading summary) in the syllabus. Sometimes there will be critical readings (reviews, etc.) by the poets; these are not to be used for summaries. The summaries concern secondary sources. You'll notice that the summaries slow down towards the end of the semester, when you are working on your paper(s).

2. All students will report on a chunk of poetry by Olson, in our gender scan of his shorter poems; this will occur over three weeks, reading through his non-Maximus poems.

3. All students will have at least one conference during the early part of the semester, between January 16 and February 20, but definitely before Spring Break. The material to be covered in this conference will be your work to date and your possible paper topic(s)

4. Papers. Option: two shorter papers. These papers are minimum 10 and maximum 15 pages each. This process begins with a Research Plan (in the form of a letter), due in March right after Spring Break. If the two paper option is chosen, the first paper will be due no later than April 3 and the second paper will be due on April 24. Students exercising the two paper option will have a conference after April 3, and before their second paper is in its final stages. For both sets of students, there will be a mini-conference presenting your findings, in class on April 24.
The two options can be distinguished by the particular intellectual needs of the student. All students who have not studied much poetry before, all students whose main interest is developing readings (possibly creative writing students or students preparing Ph.D. lists) should consider this option. Obviously, the short summaries will contribute to your thinking. Two paper option: students must treat the 20th century poets on this list. The work must be informed by gender issues (or gender-plus); the papers need to discuss method (other critical/theoretical readings, probably the ones we have suggested on the syllabus), must focus on texts (close reading), and may treat other writings by the poet and critical writings about the text, evaluated for engagement with the text and with gender issues. Before settling on a topic, students must consult with me at the conference in the early part of the semester (see above).

5. Papers. Option: one long paper. Students exercising the one paper option will usually be more mature students ready to work on a publishable paper. This process begins with a Research Plan (in the form of a letter), due in March right after Spring Break. If the one long paper option is chosen, the due date is April 24. There will be a mini-conference presenting your findings, in class on April 24.
The two options can be distinguished by the particular intellectual needs of the student. Students completing their course work, students for whom this is a major approach of interest could plan on consolidating their work in a potentially publishable paper. This paper need not treat the poets on this list (although we must agree on what you have picked and why, and you should treat closely related poets), but it (of course) should do work informed by gender(-plus) issues. This paper (minimum 23 and maximum 30 pages long) would need to discuss method (other critical/theoretical readings), texts (close reading), other writings by the poet especially as these indicate gender issues in institutions of production, dissemination, reception (research in ancillary documents), and it must make some critique or acknowledgement of the existing criticism on that author or text, a task involving a serious bibliography. Before finally settling on a topic, students must consult with me at the conference in the early part of the semester (see above).

As best as I can figure it, the mini-papers at 5% each count for about 30% of the work done in the course and (if a large paper is chosen) that paper is 70%; if two shorter papers are chosen, they are 35% each. The Research Plan may get evaluated in relation to the paper. These are guidelines only, because they don't allow for classwork (i.e. talking), which is, of course, somewhat based on your mini-papers. If you are doing two papers and your grades differ wildly, they will be tipped towards the latter part of the semester. I hope I don't have to mention that you are not to cut class.

January 16. Reading Poetry, Reading Gender. What are we talking about? What poetry, where, whose? What critical positions have emerged in thirty years of discussions of gender, poetry, poetics? Women's poetry. Canons and recovery. The women's poetry movement. Gay/ lesbian writing. Production, dissemination, reception. "Quality." The "feminine."Ideological materials around gender/sexuality in poetry: muse, female figures, genius. Social-ideological institutions of poetry: group formations, anthologies, dissemination, reception, canon.

Reading: Lynn Keller and Cristanne Miller, "Feminist Measures: Soundings in Poetry and Theory." Feminist Measures: Soundings in Poetry and Theory. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1994: 1-14."

Rachel Blau DuPlessis, from "For the Etruscans" (1979) and from "Otherhow" (1985), The Pink Guitar: Writing as Feminist Practice. NY: Routledge, 1990:11-19 and140-142.

Rita Felski, Beyond Feminist Aesthetics: Feminist Literature and Social Change. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1989: 175-182.

Griselda Pollock, Differencing the Canon: Feminist Desire and the Writing of Art's Histories. London: Routledge, 1999. from "Chapter 1: About Canons and Culture Wars" and from "Chapter 2: Differencing: Feminism's encounter with the canon" 3-11 and 23-29.

January 23. T. S. Eliot: Rereading "the" Canon

Reading: The Waste Land and Other Poems. Read The Waste Land and "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock," "Preludes," "Hysteria," "Portrait of a Lady," "Burbank with a Baedeker: Bleistein with a Cigar," "Sweeney Among the Nightingales," (look at "Ash Wednesday").

Critical Readings:

Maud Ellmann, The Poetics of Impersonality: T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Cambridge: Harvard U.P., 1987. "Chapter III: The Waste Land: A Sphinx without a Secret": 91-113. on reserve now

Wayne Koestenbaum, Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration. NY: Routledge, 1989. "Chapter 4: The Waste Land: T.S. Eliot's and Ezra Pound's Collaboration on Hysteria": 112-139. on reserve now

Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, Epistemology of the Closet. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1990. From the Introduction: Axiomatic: 1-19 and from "Chapter 4: The Beast in the Closet: James and the Writing of Homosexual Panic": 182-195. recalled for reserrve

Colleen Lamos, Deviant Modernism: Sexual and Textual Errancy in T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, and Marcel Proust. Cambridge: Cambridge U.P., 1998. "Chapter 2: The End of Poetry for Ladies": 55-117. recalled for reserve

(Critical reading summary: choose one of these four. Due in class on Jan. 23 )

January 30 Modern Cohorts: Ezra Pound, H.D., Marianne Moore. Making and Remaking Literary History.

Reading: Pound, poems from Lustra ("Tenzone," "The Condolence," "Salutation the Second," "Commission, " "Dance Figure," "Hugh Selwyn Mauberley." Also, "Others" [review of Loy and Moore] from The Little Review, 1918, in Gender of Modernism. Gender of Modernism recalled for reserve

H.D. "Pursuit," "The Contest," "Sheltered Garden," "Hyacinth," "Eurydice," Fragment 36." Also, "Marianne Moore" (a review) in Gender of Modernism

Moore: "Critics and Connoisseurs," "The Monkeys," "New York," "People's Surroundings," "Those Various Scalpels," "Novices," "Marriage." Also "Hymen" (a review) in Gender of Modernism

Critical Readings:

Ronald Bush, "Ezra Pound" and the writings of Pound, in Gender of Modernism, 353-371

Susan Stanford Friedman, "H.D." and the writings of H.D. in Gender of Modernism, 85-138

Marilyn Brownstein, "Marianne Moore" and at least "Hymen" in Gender of Modernism, 323-334 and 350-352

(Critical Reading to summarize): Rita Felski, The Gender of Modernity. Cambridge: Harvard U.P., 1995. "Chapter 1: Modernity and Feminism": 11-34. recalled for reserve

February 6 Mina Loy: Extending the Canon

Reading: Poems in The Lost Lunar Baedeker ed. Roger L. Conover, including "Parturition," "Three Moments in Paris," "The Effectual Marriage," "Songs to Joannes." Include Conover's Introduction, and Editorial Guidelines; do not forget to read the notes to each poem.

Critical Readings:
Carolyn Burke, "Mina Loy" in Gender of Modernism, 230-238.

(Critical reading: summary of one of the following three)

Eric Murphy Selinger, "Love in the Time of Melancholia," in Mina Loy: Woman and Poet, ed. Maeera Shreiber and Keith Tuma. Orono: National Poetry Foundation, 1998: 19-43. recalled for reserve

Rachel Blau DuPlessis, ""Seismic Orgasm': Sexual Intercourse and Narrative Meaning in Mina Loy," in Mina Loy: Woman and Poet, ed. Maeera Shreiber and Keith Tuma. Orono: National Poetry Foundation, 1998: 45-74. recalled for reserve

Maeera Shreiber, "'Love is a Lyric/ of Bodies': The Negative Aesthetics of Mina Loy's Love Songs to Joannes" in Mina Loy: Woman and Poet, ed. Maeera Shreiber and Keith Tuma. Orono: National Poetry Foundation, 1998: 87-109. recalled for reserve

February 13 Institutions of Poetic Practice: Manifestoes--and their Genders

F. T. Marinetti, "The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism, 1909," Destruction of Syntax-Imagination without Strings-Words-in-Freedom, 1913," from Futurist Manifestoes, ed. Umbro Apollonio, Documents of 20th Century Art. NY: The Viking Press, 1973: 19-24 and 95-106.Recalled for reserve. Actually on reserve is another book collecting Marinetti's work, ed. R.W. Flint; it has the 1909 manifesto in it.

Loy, "Feminist Manifesto," "Aphorisms on Futurism," in The Lost Lunar Baedeker

Pound/ Wyndham Lewis, BLAST (materials). On library shelf in stacks, for use in library only at AP4 B62X

Pound, Vorticist Manifesto, in Gaudier-Brzeska: A Memoir (1916), Chapter XI. New York: New Directions, 1970: 81-94. on reserve now

Marjorie Perloff, The Futurist Moment: Avant-Garde, Avant-Guerre, and the Language of Rupture. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986. "Chapter 3: Violence and Precision: The Manifesto as Art Form": 80-115. On reserve

Peter Nicholls, Modernisms: A Literary Guide. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995. From "Chapter 5: A Metaphysics of Modernity: Marinetti and Italian Futurism": 84-92.

Janet Lyon, Manifestoes: Provocations of the Modern. Ithaca: Cornell U.P., 1999. "Chapter 4: Modernists and Gatekeeping Manifestoes: Pound, Loy, and Modern Sanctions": 124-167. On reserve now

(Critical reading summary of one of the three critical works, above)

February 20 Alice Notley visits.
In preparation for her visit, please read a maximum of the following works: Mysteries of Small Houses, NY: Penguin, 1998; The Descent of Alette, NY: Penguin,1992, Dr. Williams' Heiresses, San Francisco: Tuumba Press,1980; "Homer's Art," from Homer's Art, Canton, NY: Glover Publishing, 1990; 6-7; "Epic and Women Poets," Disembodied Poetics: Annals of the Jack Kerouac School, ed. Anne Waldman and Andrew Schelling. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994: 103-109; "Women and Poetry," Scarlet 5 (Sept. 1991): n.p. Each student will prepare at least one question on gender, (her) poetry, poetics and her poetic career for Notley, and we will have a collective interview. A lot of the critical essays will be in Xeroxed form.

With her permission, and with the tech assistance of a student, we will makes plans to tape this.

Check whether there is a Dictionary of Literary Biography article on Notley. Temple's Contemporary Culture Collection owns some work of Notley; in library only.

February 27 Theoretical interlude and recapitulation.

Margaret Homans, Women Writers and Poetic Identity: Dorothy Wordsworth, Emily Bronte, and Emily Dickinson. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980. "Introduction" and "Chapter I: The Masculine Tradition":3-11 and 12-40. on reserve now

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, In Other Worlds: Essays in Cultural Politics. New York: Methuen, 1987. "Finding Feminist Readings: Dante-Yeats": 15-29. Recalled for reserve

Barbara Johnson, A World of Difference. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987. "Apostrophe, Animation, and Abortion": 184-199. On reserve now

Svetlana Boym, Death in Quotation Marks: Cultural Myths of the Modern Poet. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1991. from "The 'Poetess': Lack, Excess and Aesthetic Obscenity": 192-200. On reserve now

Barrett Watten, "What I See in 'How I Became Hettie Jones,'" Poetics Journal 10 (June 1998): 98-121. On reserve.
(Critical reading summary-of any of the above but the short Boym)

(March 6-Spring Break, no class) Be working on your paper plan. After Spring Break, give me a letter that outlines your research plans of one long paper or plans for two shorter papers. One page list of a hypothesis, issues evoked that seem important, questions, texts, close reading cues or prompts, critical models, some bibliography.

March 13 Charles Olson and Gender
Research Plan due (in letter form). Every class for the next three classes, a fixed amount of time will be devoted to scanning Olson's poetry (excluding Maximus) for your gender ideas about his work. The proposition is that to really understand a poet's work under any rubric (i.e., gender), you need to read it in bulk, and not depend on anthology pieces pre-selected by editors who may have neither your intellectual interests nor your questions. This class reading pp. 1-211, The Collected Poems of Charles Olson, ed. George Butterick. Also the introduction. When you are assigned to speak, that's your week for a poetry summary of your section of Olson. Assignments:

Other Reading: Olson, "Projective Verse" (1950): 239-249, "The Gate and the Center" (1951): 168-173, "Human Universe" (1951): 155-166, "Footnote to HU" (1952): 167, "The Resistence" (1953), 174, "GrandPa, Goodbye" (1948): 145-151. Collected Prose, ed. Donald Allen and Benjamin Friedlander. Berkeley: University of California Press1997. On reserve now.

Reading Charles Bernstein, "Introjective Verse" (1996), My Way; Speeches and Poems. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999: 110-113. Will provide by Xerox

Rachel Blau DuPlessis, "Manifests" (1996), Diacritics 26, 3/4 (Fall-Winter 1996): 31, 34-53. On reserve now

March 20 Charles Olson and Gender
Scan of the poetry, continued. The Collected Poems of Charles Olson, ed. George Butterick. On reserve now. This class, reading pp. 212- 420. Individual student assignments:

Reading: Letters between Olson and Robert Creeley; letters between Olson and Frances Boldereff. Focus on materials that can be located at the dates that the essays (above) were being composed.

Olson-Creeley in Charles Olson & Robert Creeley: The Complete Correspondence, ed. George Butterick. Santa Barbara: Black Sparrow Press, in 8 volumes from 1980 to 1987. In library use only in the Contemporary Culture Collection PS 3529 L655Z544

Olson-Boldereff in Charles Olson and Frances Boldereff: A Modern Correspondence. Ed. Ralph Maud and Sharon Thesen. Hanover: Wesleyan U.P., 1999. Read in this book, including Introduction (by Sharon Thesen), and pp. 13-15 (Primer of Morals for Medea). Library does not own-will arrange somehow.

March 27 Charles Olson and Ideologies of Masculinity
Scan of the poetry, continued. The Collected Poems of Charles Olson, ed. George Butterick. This class, reading pp. 421- 643. Individual student assignments:

Critical Reading (no summary due):
Michael Davidson, "Compulsory Homosociality: Charles Olson, Jack Spicer, and the Gender of Poetics." In Cruising the Performative: Interventions into the Representation of Ethnicity, Nationality, and Sexuality, ed. Sue-Ellen Case, Philip Brett, and Susan Leigh Foster. Bloomington: Indiana U.P., 1995. on reserve now

Tom Clark, Charles Olson: The Allegory of a Poet's Life. NY: W.W. Norton, 1991. Chapters 12-14. on reserve now

Sherman Paul. Olson's Push: Origin, Black Mountain and Recent American Poetry. Baton Rouge: LSU Press, 1978. "On the Way to the Fathers": 31-66. on reserve now

{{SEE REVISION TO SYLLABUS English 970: 01 Ideas and Forms in Literature
Case Studies in Gender, Poetry and Poetics in Twentieth Century Writing.
Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Assignment Update
Please substitute this page for April 3

April 3: Anne Waldman's Long Poem, Gender and Genre

Reading: Anne Waldman, IOVIS. Minneapolis: Coffee House Press, 1993.

(Note: There is a IOVIS, Book II-also from Coffee House Press, 1997.)

Ancillary Reading

Waldman, "Feminafesto." From Kill or Cure. New York: Penguin Books, 1994, 142-146. (Xerox, already handed out)

Waldman, "Rocky Flats: Warring God Charnel Ground." Disembodied Poetics: Annals of the Jack Kerouac School. Ed. Anne Waldman and Andrew Schelling. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994: 482-490. (Xerox provided)

Waldman, "Go-Between Between." TS courtesy of Anne Waldman. Some in Kill or Cure. (Xerox provided)

Waldman, "'I Is Another': Dissipative Structures." In Fast Speaking Woman: Chants and Essays. San Francisco: City Lights Books, 1996. (Xerox coming)

Ed Foster and Anne Waldman, "An Interview with Anne Waldman," Talisman 13 (Fall 1994/ Winter 1995): 62-78. (Xerox provided)

Alice Notley, "Iovis Omnia Plena," Chicago Review 44 (1998): 117-129. (Xerox provided)

Other Resources

CD: Waldman, "Alchemical Elegy, Selected Songs and Writings."

(With thanks to Laura Bardwell for some of this bibliography!)
{{{ this Ashbery was cut from syllabus because students wanted to read Waldman}}}
April 3 John Ashbery, Texts of Pleasure, Texts of Bliss, and Gender Narratives

For "two-paper option" students: paper 1 is due today.
Reading: Flow Chart (1991) on reserve now

Critical Reading (no summary):
Roland Barthes, from The Pleasure of the Text. NY: Hill & Wang, 1975. Recalled for reserve

Other Reading: Algernon Charles Swinburne, "The Complaint of Lisa" (Double Sestina). The Works of Algernon Charles Swinburne: Poems. Philadelphia, David McKay, Publisher [n.d.]. Will provide by Xerox}}

April 10 Alice Notley's Long Poem: Gender and Revisionary Mythopoesis (round 2)

Reading: Descent of Alette (1992)

Critical Reading (no summary):
Susan Stanford Friedman, "Craving Stories: Narrative and Lyric in Contemporary Theory and Women's Long Poems." In Feminist Measures: Soundings in Poetry and Theory, ed. Lynn Keller and Cristanne Miller. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1994: 15-42. Locate slip filed

Lynn Keller, Forms of Expansion: Recent Long Poems by Women. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1997. "Introduction: Pushing the Limits of Genre and Gender: Women's Long Poems as Forms of Expansion": 1-22. On reserve now

Adrienne Rich, "When We Dead Awaken: Writing as Re-Vision" (1971). On Lies, Secrets, and Silence: Selected Prose 1966-1978. NY: W. W. Norton, 1979. See also the original ending of that essay. Recalled for reserve

April 17 Ted Berrigan, Sonnets and The Poetic Career

Reading: The Sonnets (1964/ 2000)

Critical Reading (no summary):
Libbie Rifkin, Career Moves: Olson, Creeley, Zukofsky, Berrigan, and the American Avant-Garde. Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 2000. "Chapter 4: 'Worrying about Making It': Ted Berrigan's Social Poetics": 108-135. Filed locate slip

Jan Montefiore, Feminism and Poetry: Language, Experience, Identity in Women's Writing. London: Pandora, 1987. From "Chapter 4: Two Way Mirrors: Psychoanalysis and the Love-Sonnet," 97-115. Filed locate slip

April 24 Long papers due; second shorter papers due.
In-class reading of abstracts (summaries) of the papers, or brief presentation of your main points.

Rachel Blau DuPlessis EPC homepage