More recent versions of this syllabus can be found as

English 288 (modernist)
English 288 (postwar)

Englsih 262 (contemporary)

where the period has been split in three.

See also Englsih 62: Twentieth Century Poetry not from the U.S.

The earlier version of the syllabus is below.


English 88: American Poetry: Modern and Contemporary
Charles Bernstein
Fall 2007
T/Th 1:30-2:50 Kelly Writers House Cafe

Wreading listserve archive
posts to

1. (Sept. 6) Introduction

2. (Sept. 11) The American Scene in the New Century & before the War: Masters, Robinson, Lowell, Moore, Arenberg, Kilmer

•Poem Profiler self-test: fill out the profiler in the abstract, to reflect your own preferences
•Pick the poem you like best and least. Use the profiler on the two poems.
•Based on your poem profiling self-test, what does this tell you about your preferences?
•Which of the poets this week comes the closest to spoken English and which the least (give specific examples)? Is this a value you like or don't like in poetry?
•For Lowell, what are the "patterns" in the poem of that title? Give examples of patterns she might have been thinking about in the time the poem was written?
Wreading Experiment:: •Write a poem similar to one of Master's poems in Spoon River Anthology, making up your own character.
::Be sure to comment on your results and post to the listserv.
Further reading:
Harry Crosby

3. (Sept. 13) Early Frost [Rosh Hashona]
First: Audio: Robert Frost reading "Mending Wall"
Next: Frost in anthology; class discussion with focus on "Mending Wall" (1914) and possibly "Birches" (1915)
Further background (optional): Robert Frost Map page
E-text of "Mending Wall"; video realization with Frost's voice of "After Apple Picking"
•Pick a poem give a brief summary of the content. How is this summary different from the poem?
•In what way is Frost different the poets from the preceding class?
•What about Frost and the vernacular?
• What about the form of Frost's poems?
•A question on mood or tone: Is Frost an affirmative/happy poet or more dark/disturbing: site specific poems or passages.
•Discuss the audio recording: how does it compare to the printed text?
Wreading Experiments:
•Reverse the order of the words line for line.
•Translate one of the poems into a totally contemporary idiom, including references and diction.
::Be sure to comment on your results and post to the listserv.

Sept. 13 6pm
Bernadette Mayer and Lee Ann Brown
read at KWH
Kelly Writers House (Penn)
Note Mayer is on the syllabus for weeks 24/25, below
If you are able to go to the rearing
please comment on the list

4 and 5. (Sept. 18 and 20) Gertrude Stein: When This You See Remember Me
"If I Told Him: A Completed Portrait of Picasso" & audio at
Stein at PennSound   (also@ UBU)
Tender Buttons (complete) (see excerpts in anthology)
"Identity: A Poem"
"Composition as Explanation" in anthology and full work linked here
"Idem: the Same; A Valentine for Sherwood Anderson" -- in anthology + audio
"Rose is a rose"
"Five Words in a Line"
Extensions (optional):
anthology selections
"What Are Masterpieces": excerpt
Williams on Stein
Audio: Stein on PennSound)
Note Stein resources also at UIC.
•Does it make a difference in your reading of the poems by Stein and Amy Lowell that they are by women or Frost that he is a man? How? If these were written by the other gender, how would that change the meaning?
•Discuss the experience of hearing Stein versus reading her work as a printed text.
•In Stein's Tender Buttons, what are the possible meanings of the title? Why is the section called "objects"? Why is the poem written in a prose format?
•Discuss Stein's famous line "Rose is a rose is a rose." What's going on in this line; suggest as many dynamics as possible
•Use the parts of the poem profiler on one of the sections of Tender Buttons to aid you assessing the form and tone. For Lowell, what are the "patterns" in the poem of that title? Give examples of patterns she might have been thinking about in the time the poem was written? How does Stein's work relate to Lowell's "Patterns"?
•Write a poem using a vocabulary of 6-8 words only as in "Very Fine is My Valentine"
•Try to write a Tender Buttons-style poem.
::Be sure to comment on your results and post to the listserv.


Sept. 20 6pm
Note: Armantrout is incliuded in the Hoover anthology
If you are able to go to the rearing
please comment on the list

Note also on  Sept. 26, 6pm
Tom Davaney book realease party at KWH

6. (Sept. 25) Poetry and Social Struggle, or the 30s forever

•Compare each poet in terms of familiar language/unfamiliar language: give examples.
•Discuss Lindsay's "Congo" in terms of its political and racial forms and contents; what is the social meaning of the rhythms?
•How does Sandburg's populism hold up in the early 21st century? What values is he articulating through his poems and what poetic devices does he use to achieve this? How about Ridge?
•Discuss the forms of the poems. What is the politics of the choice of forms?
Some key issues to conisder in this reading:
*choice of subject matter
*high culture/low culture: politics of reference/allusion
*politics of content/form/diction
*popularity/populism: complexity vs accessibility
*unintended difficulties: reading the work from the vantage of a different time
•Negation/Opposites: Negate every phrase or sentence in the poem or in some way substitute opposite words for selected words in the source text: "I went to the beach" becomes "I went to the office"; "I got up" becomes "She sat down"; "I will" become "I will note", etc.
•Write a political poem on a current issue.
::Be sure to comment on your results and post to the listserv.

7. (Sept. 27) Wallace Stevens and the Imagination of Imagination
Stevens in anthology. Focus: "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird," "The Idea of Order at Key West," and "Not Ideas about the Thing But the Thing Itself" and "The Plain Sense of Things" (not in anthology)
Audio: Stevens, "Idea of Order at Key West" (or streaming via Academy of American Poets Stevens page) and "Not Ideas about the Thing Itself ... ; video with Steven's voice of "The Snow Man." See also Jim Andrews's fantasia on the Steven's audio.
Extensions: "An Ordinary Evening in New Haven" (via LION) (not required!). Al Filreis's Stevens web page.
•Pick your favorite Stevens poem:: describe the sound of each (use the Profiler, without necessarily filling it out). What is the relation of the sound to the poem's theme or point-of-view?
•What is the "plain sense of things" in the poem of that title? What is "the thing itself" in "No Ideas about the Thing But the Thing Itself"? In "The Idea of Order at Key West": who is "she"? What is the idea of order? What is Stevens's sense of "reality"?
•Take one, two or three different poems and cut each somewhere in the middle, then recombine with the beginning parts following the ending parts.
•Acrostic chance: apply a Mac Low acrostic procedure to one poem (see Experiments, #4)
::Be sure to comment on your results and post to the listserv.

8. (Oct. 2)  & 9. (Oct. 4) Ezra Pound: Collage and Personae
Short introduction to Pound by Charles Bernstein (for after you read the poems)
Part I: anthology to p. 279 ; plus prose on p. 294-95 (web version of A Retrospect is somewhat longer) and "Moeurs Contemporains" at PEPC; "Cantico del Sole" at PEPC. Note: PEPC version of Hugh Selwyn Mauberly. Sources/Discussion for "Cantico."
AUDIO at PennSound: Cantico de Sole, Hugh Selwyn Mauberly, Moers Contemporaire, The Seafarer;
Class discussion (in this order) on "In a Station of the Metro" (see also commentary), "Cantico" [Poem Talk dicussion], "Hugh Selwyn Mauberly" (sections I, II, V, Envoi), and "Moeurs"; if time, but not likely: "The Seafarer," "The River-Merchant's Wife" (commentary and other translations).
Extensions: "The Seafarer" (at PEPC)
Part II remainder in anthology
Canto I commentary
Additional AUDIO: Usura/LXV
Class discussion: LXXXI (Pisan); video clip with Pound reading; see also hypertext commentary on this poems; also commentary at Modern American Poetry), CXVI (see commentary)
See esp. the Modern American Poetry Page for comments on specific poems.
•Does the hypertext commentary for LXXXI help or hurt?
•What's with all the reference in Pound anyway?
•What is Pound's tone in "Mauberly" and "Moeurs"; have you heard that tone before?
•What about the audio files? What impression do they make?
What is Pound's object of criticism in "A Retrospect"; what poets in the anthology would you think he would like and what poets would he not like?
What's the significance of the Epic for Pound? What's the significance of translation?
•Write a collage poem incorporating the poems that make up the course reading together with selected other historical or political material.
•Erasure: Take a poem and cross out most of the words on each poem, retype what remains as your poem
::Be sure to comment on your results and post to the listserv.

Thurs., Oct 4th 8pm
reads at Temple
(TUCC, Room 22)
If you are able to go to the rearing
please comment on the list

12. (Oct. 9) William Carlos Williams: Word for Word
Williams in anthology. Focus on "The Young Housewife," "Pastoral," "Queen Anne's Lace," "The Botticellian Trees," "Between Walls", "Spring and All," "To Elsie" (e.g., "The pure products of America...). "This Is Just to Say,".and the prose excepts from Spring and All.
Audio at PennSound; note at end singles of "Between Walls" and "This Is Just to Say"; or these singles"Queen Anne's Lace", "To Elsie"; "The Botticellian Trees,"  & vido realization of "The Great Figure" .
Optional:  PoemTalk: Al Filreis leads a discussion of "Between Walls"
See also James Clifford on "For Elsie" & the Penn symposium on "For Elsie".
Note: LION has Collected WCW.
•How do William's thin lines work? What do they do?
•What do you make of the line breaks in Williams? Compare Loy and Williams to Masters and Robinson in terms of use of everyday spoken language.
•Detail the visual images in your favorite poems for this week. Then detail the psychological states/evocations in these poems.
•Which poems are most like someone speaking and which the least? How does that affect the value of the poems.
Wreading Experiments:
•In imitation of Williams, write a poem with very short lines OR take a poem with longer lines from the anthology and rebreak the lines in the manner of Williams.
•Write a poem as a note on the refrigerator.
•Write a poems about a single commonplace object.
::Be sure to comment on your results and post to the listserv.

Thurs., Oct. 10, 7:30pm Rachel Back, KWH
Thurs,, Oct. 11
cris cheek &

in Bob Cobbing celebration
at KWH

If you are able to go to the rearing
please comment on the list

11 (Oct. 11) Maggie O'Sullivan: Class Visit
Reading assignment: O'Sullivan's Body of Work
Futher Listening: O'Sullivan on PennSound
We will be recording a 30-minute reading as well as a discussion with members of the class for the Close Listening/Studio 111 radio series. About eight students will ask O'Sullivan questions: please email me to volunteer. You will be asked to send me some sample questions by Tuesday at the latest, so I can create an order/script for the interview. For the rest of the class: comment on the work. Run the poem profiler. Obviously, we are jumping from modernist-era poets to a contemporary. What marks the work as contemporary? Could this work have been written if the first part of the 20th century. In what way does is resemble, and in what ways differ from, the reading you have done up until know in the class? How does O'Sullivan "paint" with sound? What are ecological poetics of the work? Would this work read differently if it were written by a man (a question that will come up again in the course)? O'Sullivan lives in West Yorkshire, in the north of England, and has Irish parents: How do these geographical contexts affect her work (of do they?)? Discuss her diction/syntax: Is O'Sullivan a demotic poet (a poet who uses local/low language)?

12. (Oct. 16) Fall Term Break: NO CLASS
A Modernist Miscellany

•Pick your favorite poems.
•What is Jeffers's approach to the natural world.
•Detail the visual imagery in a Moore and Jeffers poem. What is the mood or psychological state of three of the Eliot poems? What is the theme of three of the Moore poems?
•Compare the sound of a single poem of three different poets from this week's reading.
•Substitution (2): "7 up or down." Take a poem and substitute another word for every noun, adjective, adverb, and verb; determine the substitute word by looking up the index word in the dictionary and going 7 up or down, or one more, until you get a syntactically suitable replacement.

13. (Oct. 18)
Mina Loy , HD, & Edna St. Vincent Millay, and the Baroness Elsa
Millay: "First Fig," "Recuerdo" (mp3) & "Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink" (mp3) in anthology; "What lips ..."
Loy all poems in anthology (see image of Brancusi's "Golden Bird," subject of Loy's poem.) Extensions: Loy manifestos, Wolkowski's Loy page. & Daughters of Dada show page
Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven (1874-1927 ): "A Dozen Cocktails Please" & "Appalling Heart" in anthology (p. 522); more poems at Green Integer Review. extensioins: Daughter of Dada page, fashion by the Baronness;   Williams on the Baronness, PIP page
H.D. in anthology; further (optional) listening: Helen in Egypt at PennSound
Further Reading: Djuna Barnes, The Book of Repulsive Women
•Rank the poems: favorites and least favorite.
•Discuss the eroticism in Loy's and Millay's poems. Can you think of any approach related to this in the reading so far? Describe and contrast the forms chosen.
•Do you see any relation to vernacular or slang in Freytag-Loringhoven's poems?
•What makes HD's dialogic? What is the tone of her work?
Also — comments on Nash, cummings, and Parker reading from "the break" welcome!
•Write a poem in imitation of Loy, H.D., &/or Freytag-Loringhoven.
•Substitution (1) : "Mad libs." Take a poem and put blanks in place of three or four words in each line, noting the part of speech under each blank. Fill in the blanks being sure not to recall the original context.

14 and 15. (Oct. 23 and 25) African-American Modernism


•For this segment of the class, all the poets are African-American. Does it make sense to segregate the syllabus in this way? Argue for and against.
•Are any of these poets more or less political than the others. Explain.
•Compare the Rainey songs to Handy, both in terms of the lyric and the vocal.
•Try transcribing one of the song and compare to text version in the anthology. Comment. For example, the text provided for Rainey's songs are transcriptions: how do they work in an anthology of mostly written poetry? Can you change improve the transcription of "See See Rider" provided on the web site.
•"See See Rider" has been performed and transformed by singers after Rainey -- discuss this process. Does this happen with written poetry?
•Compare McKay's "Harlem Dancer" to Bennett's "At the Carnival" from the point of view of sincerity (empathy/identification -- or attitude toward subjects) and objectification (making the subjects into objects).
•Discuss the thread of song/dialect/vernacular/poetry as it moves through the selected poems.
•Compare the approach to traditional forms in Cullen and McKay and to vernacular in Brown and Hughes -- what are the politics of the forms chosen; now compare the use of traditional form with the vernacular/blues form.
•Transcribe a poem from a recording without consulting the "original" written text. Try to create appropriate line breaks and layout. Try several different formats.
•Homolinguistic translation: Take a poem and translate it "English to English" by substituting word for word, phrase for phrase, line for line, or "free" translation as response to each phrase or sentence. Or translate the poem into another literary style or a different diction, for example into -- or out of -- a slang or vernacular.
::Be sure to comment on your results and post to the listserv.

16. (Oct. 30) The Talented Mr. Eliot
T.S. Eliot: "The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock," (c. 1911) & "The Waste Land" (1922) + Audio:
"The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock" and or
"The Wast Land" Audio by ind. section or
"The Waste Land" (mp3 of whole poem; 30mb; some recent problems loading this)
or text/audio from Poetry Archive; or:Town Hall files
Note digital texts inked above from Bartleby and at LION.
Optional: "Tradition and the Individual Talent" (part of "The Sacred Wood"); alternate pdf file of essay
Further links: What the Thunder Said (Eliot site with full texts)
Prufrock web site: hypertext of poem, early reveiws, full text of Prufrock and Other Observations (1971) &c
Web Guide to Eliot

Deformative sound of Eliot
Further Reading:
Selected Prose, ed. Frank Kermode
B.C. Southam, A Guide to the Selected Poems of T.S. Eliot
Tom and Viv (1994)

•Use the Poem Profiler to describe the mood, psychological state, and other features of several poems.
•How does "The Waste Land" relate to other collage works previously read in the class? More generally, what is Eliot doing in common with other poets read so far, what differently?
•Here is the classic potboiler question, your imaginary exam? What are the principal sources used in "The Waste Land"? Go beyond the obvious or listed "literary sources"!
•Optional reading: Discuss "Tradition and the Individual Talent" in terms of the ongoing issues that have been discussed in the class? What is the relevance of Eliot's views for modernist poetry, for American poetry, or for poetry today?
•Reverse the word order (word for word backward, not line for line). Rather than reverse, scramble.
•  Burroughs's fold in: Take two different pages from the source text and cut them in half vertically. Paste the mismatched pages together. .

17. (Nov. 1) Second Wave Modernism I: Charles Reznikoff & Jean Toomer
Charles Reznikoff (1894-1976)
SF State Reading: MP3 at PennSound
selection of poems (in Word); for class discusion, there is also
A shorter selection, which are the ones we will discuss, time permitting
the selection in anthology, EPC selections
Collected Poems at LION
Jean Toomer (1894-1967) in anthology: "Cotton Song," "Georgia Dust," "Portrait in Georgia" (note this image) "Her Lips Are Copper Wire" all from Cane (1923). Extensions: Jean Toomor web site
•How does Reznikoff differ from Eliot in respect to symbilism and literary form? Who is more difficult — Eliot or Reznikoff (that is, is there a way Reznikoff can be considered difficult)?
•Some of Reznikoff's poems are extremely short? How does scale function in these poems?
•Discuss the experience of hearing Reznikoff versus reading him on the page?
•For Toomer: discuss the relation of his poems have spoken American English. What forms do they employ?
•How does the form of the poems of Toomer or Reznkoff contribute to the content?
•For Reznikoff: Does is make a difference that these poems were written by a man? By a child of immigrants? By a person from a second-language (Yiddish-speaking) household. By a Jewish-American?
•Re-order the poems in the Reznikoff "selection" -- discuss effect of the different order
•Take one of Reznikoff's poems and re-write in the manner of Masters or Robinson or with a more traditional form. Discuss.

18. (Nov. 6) Second Wave Modermisms II: Niedecker and Crane
Lorine Niedecker in anthology; extensions: EPC selection;
class discussionL "I married" (note Willis on this poem at EPC) & "My Life by Water" (also in EPC selection)
(optional):: 1970 reading: mp3
Hart Crane
*"The Bridge" (1930)-- go to LION (Literature on Line at Penn library electronic resources; when at LION home page, use the quick search on the upper left and type in "Hart Crane Bridge" (use exactly those words); read whole poem, if possible, but if not just go to section III "Cutty Sark"; notes for, and text of, "Cutty Sark"
*"Broken Tower"
class focus: "Cutty Sark"
* extensions: video-clip of "The Bridge" (actor reading the text), Crane Ohio bio, View from Garretteville
* other selections in anthology.
Laura Riding and on rencouncing poetry (Penn only)
Muriel Rukeyser
George Oppen
Abraham Lincoln Gillespie (1895-1950): three essays at UBU
; four poems at Fasicle
and also The Syntactic Revolution (New York: Out of London Press, 1980)

•Crane's is a poetry of excess, or extravagant language; Niedecker is a poet of condesnsation and elision; you might say fat vs. thin.. Discuss the affective qualities of each of these approaches to poetry.
•Describe the scene and mood in "Cutty Sark"
•What earlier poets does Crane bring to mind, if any? How is the style of his work different?
•Do a close reading, that is, say everything you can say, about one of Niedecker's short poems.
•Compare Reznikoff and Neidecker
•Neidecker's poetry situated in the rural northern midwest. How does she create a modernist poetry with this nonurban setting?
•Is Neidecker's poetry "domestic"? Is this a helpful or reductive frame? Is it the same as saying she writes "as a woman"? Is this a helpful or reductive frame?
Do an imitation of Crane and Niedecker or
Pick your own wreading experiment from the list.

19. (Nov. 8) Second Wave Modernisms III: Sincerity and Objectifciation with Special Reference to Louis Zukofsky
Louis Zukofsky (1904-1978):
in anthology: "A"-11; "I's (pronounced eyes), "Anew" 10, 20, 21
"Songs of Degrees"
(web library only) & audio of "Songs of Degrees" (audio also includes "Barely & Widely")
"Julia's Wild" (from Bottom: On Shakespeare, 1960)
Catullus & audio of 70
"A Foin Lass Bodders Me"
[Note: "Anew" 20 & 21 are also in web library: "The lines of / this new / song" and "Can mote / of sunliight"]
•How do these poems relate to the previous poetry you have read this semester? Briefly sketch the form/structure of each of the poems.
•Discuss the role of sound in several of the poems.
•Are Zukofsky's homophonic (same-sound) Catullus translations really translations?
•What is the effect of Zukofsky permuations of words in "Songs of Degrees" and "Julia's Wild".
"Julia's Wild" comes from a line in Shakespeare's Two Gentleman of Verona, Act 4, Scene 4 (line 199), a part spoken by Julia:
Come, shadow, come and take this shadow up
For 'tis thy rival. O thou senseless form,
Thou shalt be worshipp'd, kiss'd, loved and adored!
And, were there sense in his idolatry,
My substance should be statue in thy stead.
I'll use thee kindly for thy mistress' sake,
That used me so; or else, by Jove I vow,
I should have scratch'd out your unseeing eyes
To make my master out of love with thee!

Discuss the poem in relation to the play or to Shakespeare.
Try some homophonic translations of your own, either using Catullus (you can find text on web) or other poem of your choice (you can find a number of links to poems-not-in-English on the English 62 syllabus. See Wreading Experiments list #2 for more detail.

20 and 21. (Nov. 13 and 15) Hoover Anthology 1: Black Mountain/Mythopoetics/Projective Verse/SF Renaissance
[let's say Olson/Duncan/Spicer//Levertov for Tues., Creeley/Eigner/Wiener for Thurs]
Charles Olson, Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, Robert Creeley, Denise Levertov, Larry Eigner, John Wieners. Note: In Hoover, read both poems and poetics by Olson, Duncan, Creeley, and Levertov.
Plus: My Creeley selection at the Poetry Foundation;  another Creeley Selection
Spicer, "Thing Language"
Olson, "Projective Verse"
Olson at PennSound:
SF 1957: . 1. I, Maximus of Gloucester, to You [I.1] (4:01)
Vancouver, 1963: Maximus, to Himself  ("I have had to learn the simplest things / last ..." [I:52-53] (2:26)
Kingfishers (6:31)
Creeley PennSound page:
LineBreak Program (my conversation with Creeley):
First half-hour (29:12): mp3 // Second half (29:08): mp3
Oh No (0:31)
A Tally (1:33)
Words (0:47)
The Warning (0:15) (text)
I Know a Man (0:28) (text)
“My Mother Would Be a Falconess” (ra from
"Often I Am Permitted" at the San Francisco State University on June 18, 1959 (2:00): MP3
Spicer -- singles at PennSound
Wieners -- at PennSound -- esp. "Poems for Painters" with text at end
Eigenr on PennSound
Web texts: Spicer : "Sporting Life" and on dictation from the Vancouver lectures
•What are you able to say about the poetics or the poetic values these poets articulate? Olson writes about "pejorocracy" (the worsening rule of government): what is the political and social attitude of these poets?
•These poets came of age in the 1950's -- how does that context figure in the poems?
•What difference does it make that a poem is written by a man or woman. Pick a couple of poems and discuss what would occur if you learned the poem was written by the gender other than you assumed. For example, would it make a difference if the Olson or Creeley poems were written by a woman? How much is "maleness" a part of the poems?
• What is the relation of Olson’s “Projective Verse” essay to his poems? How about the relation of Creeleys’ poetics to his poems?
•For each poet, discuss what you find most distinctive (use the Poem Profiler as necessary). List favorite/worst. What kind of allusions are used by these poets? What function does Creeley’s short lines serve? On diction: which poems come closest to spoken American English, which the least? Is this a value you like or don’t like in poetry?
•Note the mood or tone of several of the poems, citing specific passages. Eigner is a poet of the everyday/common: describe how he articulates this. He was also confined to wheelchair all his life due to cerebral palsy: is this something reflected in the poems? Make a list of the nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives in one or more of the poems. Does this list tell you anything about the work? Read one of the poems out loud three or more times with different tempos and volume (best if this can be done with someone else): describe the results.
•Duncan writes: "The grace of the poem, the voice, comes from a will that strives to waken us from our own personal will, [the poet] strives to waken to the will of the poem, even as the poems strives to waken that will" ("Essay in Essential Autobigraphy, Truth & Life of Myth). Discuss, thinking of both Duncan's sense of the poem as dervivative and Spicer sense of the poem as received as if by radio transmission, along with Olson's insistence on avoiding the "lyrical interference of the ego."
• Write a Creeley “thin” poem, that is one with very short lines OR take a poem with longer lines from the anthology and rebreak the lines in the manner of Creeley.
•Write a poem using some of the techniques you have gleaned from “Projective Verse”: line as breath, parataxis. Write a poem with the visual layout and “breath” breaks of Olson's “field” poems, possibly using materials from anthologies, e.g. score “Projective Verse” as a projective poem.
•No wave. Retype the target work, without making any changes. Proofread for accuracy. Reflect on the process.
::Be sure to comment on your results.
Extensions: Robert Lowell, Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, John Berryman

Before going on the next segment, an (optional!) question: to what degree do you thnk your reading of the poets associated with the New American Poetry was affected by the reading of the modernist poets? If you had started with the postwar poets, would your impression be different?

22 (Nov. 20) Hoover 2: New York School
Note: Thanskgiving is Nov. 22
As a result of the holiday, we will have to skip the second NY School session and move on the Beats!
Readinig in Hoover anthology, selection from listed poets. Links for further reading
Be sure to bring anthology to class..
Guest, Schuyler, O'Hara (and "Personism: A Manifesto" in Poetics section of anthology), Ashbery, Berrigan, Padgett, Notley, Lauterbach
Guest: PennSound, see e.g, "An Emphasis Falls on Reality" and LineBreak show
O'Hara: "Poem"   ("Lana Turner Has Collapsed")
Schuyler at PennSound
Berrigan at PennSound
Ashbery: "How Much Longer ... " & "They Dream Only of America" (PennSound)
Extensions: Ashbery:
"Farm Implements & Rutabagas" (text) and audio of the poem
and discussion of the poem
"My Philosophy of Life" -- text and audio
"Daffy Duck in Hollywood" (text only)
• It is often said that these poets work on the “surface” in contrast with the “deep” poetics of some of the poets read last week. What is meant by this? Which of these poems comes closest to speech/vernacular? What kind of allusions are made? How does the comic work in these poems? Briefly, differentiate the five poets? Can serious poems be funny? Compare these poems to the previous poems in terms of the use of the everyday or commonplace? Does trivial subject matter make for trivial poems?
•Who is Lana Turner and what role does she play in O'Hara's "Poem" (two images may help: Peyton Place (1957); still. In "The Day Lady Died" talk about the role of Billie Holiday (eg "Lady Day"). Contrast the use of these two figures.
• Write a poem in a “novel” form: index, table of contents, obituary, catalog, resume, course description, an advertisement for an imaginary or real product, an instruction manual, a travel guide, a quiz or examination, etc.
• Write a letter poem, as O’Hara’s “Day Lady Died” or one of Schuyler’s letter poems, possibly mentioning the names of friends, in the informal manner of O’Hara’s “Personism”.
•Write a Schulyer-like poem articulating the nonevents of the everyday (as “Crystal Lithium" in Hoover).
• Write a Berrigan-like sonnet, taking material exclusively from the anthologies.

23 and 24. (Nov. 27 & Nov. 29) Hoover 3: Beats and Beyond
Reading  in the Hoover anthology.
Nov. 27: Ginsberg (and Poetics), Kerouac , Corso,
Nov. 29: Rothenberg, Baraka (also Poetics), Cortez, Mayer
Ginsberg at PennSound: "Howl" & "A Supermarket in California" ; Penn only: " America," "Footnote to Howl" (streaming)
Kerouac (protected)-- "Charlie Parker" with Steve Allen' "American Haiku"; (also listen to Kerouac sound clips); Kerouac Paris Review Interview (1968)
Rothenberg at PennSound, including LINEbreak
Baraka at PennSound: "Black-Dada-Nihilismus" (text of this poem at LION via library e-resources search "Baraka Nihilismus"; LION has much Baraka); and Penn only: "Bang-Bang-Outishly"
Cortez (protected), "Rape"
Mayer at PennSound
Ginsberg web site: "Sunflower Sutra" & "Lion for Real" see also Naropa Audio Archive,  AlanGinsburg.Org
Ginsberg and Baraka at Kenning CD at PennSound,: cuts 7 & 16
Ginsberg poems on-line: "America",  Howl, Parts I & II ,A Supermarket in California, "Witchita Vortex Sutra," "Kaddish I," "Kaddish III, IV, V "
Cf: John Cage's "Writing through Howl"
•Recombine: take words and phrases from the book and recombine them to make a new poem. Use a web cut-up engine:Lazarus cut-up engine to perform a similar task automatically; also engines at "Language Is a Virus:" Cut Up Machine,  Slice-n-Dice,  Exquisite Cadavulator, God's Rude Wireless. And: Ron Starr's travesty engine..
•Write an imitation of “Howl”.
•Write your own commenatry on any one of the poems, giving as much styllistic and formal detail as possible.
•Compare the experience of listening to Baraka, Kerouac, Rothenberg and Ginsberg to reading the work on the page. In other words: discuss the performances.
•In Cortez's poem "Rape" (we will discuss on Thursday): how does the form contribute to the message? What is the message? What does this work do as a poem differently than an essay on the same topic? Compare to Adrienne Rich's "Rape" & to Clayton Eshleman's "Hardball." For background info on the subject of the poem, see Wikepedia article on Garcia and on Little.

26. (Dec. 4 & Dec. 6) Hoover 4:
From Chance to Performance
(Dec. 6 is last class. All work, except extra credit, due by this class.)
Dec. 4: Weiner, Antin, Mackey
Dec 6:Cage (& Poetics), Mac Low,
Antin at PennSound: Studio 111 interview with Antin (with Penn undergraduates); plus talk
Mac Low audio at PennSound, esp LINEbreak & "Black Tarantula Gatha"
Weiner at PennSound: most important: beginning of the March Clairvoyant Journal (5-10 minutes)
Extetnions: William Burroughs on cut-ups & Brion Gysin on cut-ups
•What happens to originality when poems are composed of “found” material, as in Mac Low and Cage. What happens to intentionality if poems are composed by systematic procedures? Is this a good thing?
•Are Antin’s works poems?
•What is the role of performance in these works?
•Acrostic chance: Use one of the anthologies as your source text. Use title of book or poem as acrostic key phrase.  For each letter of key phrase go to page number in book that corresponds (a=1, z=26) and copy as first line of poem from the first word that begins with that letter to end of line or sentence.  Continue through all key letters, leaving stanza breaks to mark each new key word.  (Cf.: Jackson Mac Low's Stanzas for Iris Lezak.)  Variations include using author's name as code for reading through her or his work, using your own or friend's name, picking different kinds of books for this process, devising alternative acrostic procedures.
•Talk poem: record yourself talking a poem and transcribe.
•What role does voice play in the poems of Weiner?
•Discuss the poetics articulated by the poets in their LINEbreak interviews and by Cage in the Poetics section.
•Compare reading and hearing the poets.
Note: Lazarus cut-up engine to perform a similar task automatically; also engines at "Language Is a Virus:" Cut Up Machine,  Slice-n-Dice,  Exquisite Cadavulator, God's Rude Wireless. And: Ron Starr's travesty engine.

As a final optional submission, please give your response to the course, which exercises and questions you found most helpful, what was your reaction to posting all your work to the list? What about the amount of reading required for each class? Enough? Too Much? What did you like least about the course, what most (what would you like more of, or less of)? On the listserve: what did you think about posting all work to the list as opposed to giving it prviately to the instructor? Thinking back on all the poets, list your overall favorites and state your reason for your preference. You needn't post this response to the list; if you prefer, send it directly to me.

Bonus Track 1: The 50s Redux
Sylvia Plath: "Daddy" : text, video;  "Lady Lazarus"; "Mad Girl's Love Song";  collected poems
Adrienne Rich: at PennSound; "Diving into the Wreck", "Snapshots of a Daughter-in-law" "Rape"
Robert Lowell, "Skunk Hour," "For the Union Dead," "Man and Wife"; audio only of "The Public Garden";  additional poems
John Berryman, "Dream Songs" #1 (with audio), 4, 29; 14 ("Life, friends, is boring")
Extensions: Anne Sexton
James Merril

Bonus Track 2: Materializing the Word 1 (Hoover)
Coolidge, Susan Howe, Thomas, Grenier, Scalapino(A) , Ward
Live at the Ear: Scalapino, Howe.
LINEbreak: Scalapino, Howe.
Robert Smithson, "A Heap of Language" (1966); commentary by Richard Sieburth
Further reading (optional): Aram Saroyan's Aram Saroyan
•Try to characterize the difference between each of these poets. Select several poems and discuss the form and mood of these poems and the relation among them.
•Coolidge suggests that Kerouac is his most important influence? Why is that? Give a detailed response to listening to the poets read their work: how is that different than what's on the page?
•Write a poem (see for example Coolidge in Hoover) consisting entirely of one or two word lines in “field” layout, all words taken from the anthologies.
•Write a poem made up entirely of neologisms or nonsense words or fragments of words. (Cf.: Lewis Carroll's "Jabberwocky", Khlebnikov's zaum, Schwitters "Ur Sonata" (at UBU "historical"). P. Inman's Platin, David Melnick's Pcoet.) Use Neil Hennessy's JABBER: The Jabberwocky Engine to generate lexicon.
• Describe different ways disjunction is used by these poets. Is it possible to paraphrase any of these poems: which ones is this possible for and which not? Why? Paraphrase one poem and compare the paraphrase to the original: what is the difference?
•Discuss Susan’s Howe’s use of history in one of her poems.
::Be sure to comment on the Wednesday at 4 film screening and to post that and the Hoover response to the list.

Bonus Track 3: Materializing the Word 2 (Hoover)
Hejinian (and Poetics), Palmer, Silliman(A) (and Poetics), Perelman, Andrews, Armantrout
Live at the Ear: Andrews, Silliman, Watten.
LINEbreak: Andrews, Silliman, Hejinian.
Michael Palmer: "Sun" text and audio
•Discuss the poetics articulated by Hejinian and Silliman, in Hoover poetics and their views, along with Andrews's, in the LINEbreak programs. What do you see as the relation of the poetics to the poems? Which “poetics” did you like the best? Find most interesting? Found most provocative?
• “My Life”: Write down a set of autobiographical sentences. Arrange them in nonsequential orders.
•Procedural form (writing a poem according to some prescribed numeric pattern): try for example a Fibonacci (cf.  Silliman’s Tjanting): 1,1,2,3,5 to construct the units of a poem: words, phrases, lines, sentences. Invent new material or use anthologies for source texts.
•Serial sentences:  Select one sentence each from a variety of different books or other sources or from the anthologies.  Add sentences of your own composition.  Combine into one paragraph, reordering to produce the most interesting results.
•The Andrews System: Use a small cut-up blank pages or pad or memo book; over the week, write down from a couple of words to at most a couple of phrases on each page. Shuffle the pages to lose any temporal sequence. From the results, compose a poem.
>>>>Ron Sillimans' Ketjak in PDF

Bonus Track 4: Popular Song
•Irving Berlin, "Slumming on Park Avenue" and audio of song featuring Ella Fitzgerald
•Cole Porter (LOA, p. 833): Cole Porter peforming "You're the Top", "Anything Goes", "Sunday Morning Breakfast Time", and "Everybodee Who's Anybodee"; "Just One of Those Things"(Ella Fitzgerald); "I Get a Kick out of You" (Ethel Merman), "Night and Day" (Aksel Schiotz).
•George and Ira Gershwin and DuBoise Heywood, Porgy and Bess
How do these songs sound to you when heard in the context of this course? What is their significance, if you find any, in the context of modernist American poetry?

Bonus Track 5: High Anti-Modernism
Alan Tate
John Crow Ransom, "Blue Girls"
Randell Jarrell, "Death of the Ball Turret Gunner"
Richard Wilbur, "In the Smoking Car,  "Shame"

Bonus Track 5: Dialectic of Dialects
Lois-Ann Yamanaka, "Sista Boss of the Food" (Hawai'i pidgen poem, as discussed yesterday)
Fanny Brice, "Mrs. Cohen at the Beach" (1930s) (not a poem, but a piece of Yiddish schtick --)