Temple: English 8904
Penn: English 589 /Comp Lit 577
Rachel Blau DuPlessis & Charles Bernstein
The Major and the Minor
of 20th and 21st Century Poetry
Penn: Fisher-Bennett Hall Room 222
Course introduction here
posts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Course Requirements: Weekly postings to the class list, responding
to the week's reading. Leading one week's discussion as a respondent.
A final paper or project is due at the end of the semester.
Temple Week 1 (August 28). Temple Alone (not required
for Penn students)
Penn students welcome! Temple classes start a week ahead of
Site: TUCC 604..
A brief survey of “schools” of
contemporary American poetry with characteristics of each. A
map of the world this course will generally inhabit. No student
reading beforehand necessary; Xeroxes will be provided.
Temple Week 2/ Penn Week 1 (September 4):. Introduction
Penn students are asked to come to this class, even
though it is on the eve of the official semester start; in this
way we can balance the Penn and Temple schedules. Note also
that our total number of meetings, including this one, will
Fisher-Bennett Hall Room 222; all subsequent classes
will be at Penn
introductory discussion on assumptions about the minor and major,
in terms of poems but also a poetic career. What is major;
what is minor? What is the canon? The university and undergraduate
training as support institutions for poetic dissemination/ reception.
What other forces, issues, materials help to create major/minor
divisions and thinking. How do these institutions work to accomplish
Suggested reading (optional)::
John Guillory, Cultural Capital: The Problem of Literary Canon
Antonio Gramsci, Prison Notebooks, in re: subaltern:
both other and under (dominated by the “hegemonic”):
groups that do not have a consciousness of their own possible
power and so remain voiceless and without agency.
Temple Week 3/ Penn Week 2. (Sept. 11): Manifesto!
Fisher-Bennett Hall Room 222; all subsequent classes
will be at Penn
Manifesto—essays in poetics, public
announcements of purpose as acts of "majorifying" or "minoritizing." Positions
taken. Gender, other social locations and social anxieties visible
in the manifesto text. Role of manifestos. What is learned from
Reqiuired Reading :
•F.T. Marinetti. Three manifestos:: Futurist
Manifesto (1909), "Destruction
of Syntax/Words in Freedom", "War,
the World Only Hygiene"
•Ezra Pound, “A
by an Imagiste” (1913)
Loy, “Feminist Manifesto,” “Aphorisms
on Futurism,” 1914 (pdf/Penn);
of ms of "Feminist Manifesto).
Further reading on Loy (optional): Wolkowski's
Loy page. & Daughters
of Dada show page
•André Breton: Surrealist
Manifesto (English), French
•from Blast #1 June 20, 1914 (pdfs):
Live the Vortex!" (2 pp.
Suffragettes, A Word of Advice." (pp
•Peter Nicholls, Modernisms: A Literary Guide. Berkeley:
University of California Press, 1995. From “Chapter 5:
A Metaphysics of Modernity: Marinetti and Italian Futurism”:
•Martin Puchner. Poetry of the Revolution. Marx, Manifestos,
and the Avant-Gardes. Princeton: Princeton University Press,
2006.” Introduction,” and “Chapter 7: The Rear
Guard of British Modernism.” PDF
Vorticist Manifesto, in Gaudier-Brzeska:
A Memoir (1916), Chapter XI. New York: New Directions, 1970:
•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.
•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.
•Mary Ann Caws, Manifestos: A Century of Isms.
See also DuPlessis's discussion of Loy in
in Gender, Races, and Religious Cultures in Modern American
See also: «Rett
Kopi documents the future» —. a new Norwegian
publication on the manifesto
Paul Fussel, Great War and Modern Memory
Peter Bürger, Theory of the Avant-Garde
Temple Week 4/ Penn Week 3 (Sept 18):
the change from major to minor”
Why be a great composer
with your rent in arrears,
Why be a major poet and you'll owe it for years?
When crowds'll pay to giggle if you wiggle your ears?
Be a clown, be a clown, be a clown.
Baudelaire, two short poems: “Muse
Venale ”(1857) & “À une
Mendiante Rousse" (1845-6) (see also "La
petite mendiante rousse" by Emile Deroy)
•William Carlos Williams, "The
Young Housewife", "Pastoral", "Between
Is Just to Say" (cf, WCW
audio on PennSound)
•Cole Porter (1891-1964), "You're
the Top" (go to p. 169 or search) & "Ev'ry
Time We Say Goodbye" (go to p. 362 or seach)
in word file)
•Giles Deleuze & Felix Guattari, from Kafka: Toward
a Minor Literature (pdf)
•Peter Nicholls, Modernisms: Introduction and Chapter
1. (Note: Nicholls discusses "À une
Mendiante Rousse" in the introduction.).
Also recommended (optional): Nicholls's chapters
2 & 3.
•Michel de Certeau, Arts de Faire (The Practice of Everday
Introduction (via UBU): note esp. distinction between strategy and
tactics; on this see also the Wikepedia entry
Part One (pdf/Penn
see esp. pp..24-32 on “la perruque” (the wig)
reqiured):Porter sings "You're
the Top" (1934) ; Merman
version; "Ev'ry Time": Nina
O'Brien-Bernstein interview on LOA (from boundary 2)
Is Blake minor?: see essay in The
on Stein (Nation and Athenaeum, Jan. 29, 1927, p. 595)
Baudelaire: Lyric Poet in the Age of High Capitalism
•The Everyday Life Reader, ed. Ben Highmore (Routledge)
•Naomi Schor, Reading in Detail
is a Minor Literature?"
Filreis leads a discussion of "Between Walls"
N.B. The Major
and the Minor (1942), directed by Billy Wilder, with
Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland was remade as You're
Never Too Young (1955) with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
N.B.2: Walt Whitman's "Respondez!" (a.k.a. "Reversals")
speaks to the issue of transvaluation.("Respondez" is
available via LION.).
Further reading of the Critique
of Everyday Life:
Bernstein, from "The
Practice of the Ordinary"
Philippe Aries, et al, A History of Private Life
Gaston Bachelard, Poetics of Space
Ferdinand Braudel, The Structures of Everyday Life
Elias Canetti, Crowds and Power
Stanley Cavell, In Search of the Ordinary
Guy Debord, Society of the Spectacle
Sigmund Freud, The Psychopathology of Everyday Life
Erving Goffman, Frame Analysis: An Essay on the Organization
Agnes Helller, Everyday Life
Henri Lefebvre, Critique of Everyday Life
Jean-Luc Nancy, The Inoperative Community
E. P. Thompson, The Long Revolution,
Raymond Williams, Culture and Society
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations
Frederic Jamesson, The Prison House of Language
Perry Anderson, Concerning Western Marxism
Sept. 20 6pm
Note also: Sept. 26, 6pm
Tom Davaney book realease party at KWH
Temple Week 5/ Penn Week 4 (Sept. 25)
Tracking one female reputation thru the past decades.
•H.D., Trilogy (written. 1942-44)
•Susan Friedman, “Who
Buried H.D.: A Poet, Her Critics and Her Place in ‘The
Literary Tradition.’” College English 36 (March
1975): 801-14. Note the date (1975). Access via library e-resources,
•Adelaide Morris, How to Live / What to Do:
H.D.'s Cultural Poetics (University of Illinois Press, 2003): pdf
respondents: Katie Price, Sarah Gardam,
Yumeko Kawano, Heather Gorn
•Further (optional) critical readings
H.D. web page.
Rachel DuPlessis, from H.D.: The Career of that Struggle (Indiana
University Press, 1986)
Susan Stanford Friedman, Psyche Reborn: The Emergence of H.D.
(University of Indiana Press, 1987)
DuPlessis and Friedman, eds., Signets: Reading H.D. (University
of Wisconsin, 1991)
Recommended Further Reading:
Elizabeth Willis, "A
Public History of the Dividing Line: H.D., the Bomb, and the
Roots of the Postmodern"
Walter Benjamin: "On the Concept of History": Lloyd
Spencer translation & commentary, Dennis
Redmond translation, Thesis
IX, tr. Harry Zohn and Richard Sieburth, with Klee "New
Angel" image. See esp. Thesis 3 -- on major and minor.
two NY Times '80s reviews (excerpts)
Temple Week 6/ Penn Week 5 (Oct. 2)
New American Poetry
and the ordinary
(Group-formation-movement-coterie (these being between the public
and the private) (Creating majority together)
Guest at EPC and PennSound:
Defining the Mysterious: Byzantine Proposals of Poetry" from HOW(ever)
Gardens Overlooked by Night Lights" (from Fair Realism)
Emphasis Fall on Reality" (from Fair Realism)
Respondent: Duncan Regan
Schuyler & at PennSound: The
EPC selection is a good but start with "January" (and
see Gizzi commentary) and "Empathy
and the New Year"
Eigner & at PennSoound:: start
with the PennSound poem, then "Approaching things":
then hit "next page"
Fdn selection; more
poems & PennSound
Lytle Shaw, Frank O'Hara: The Poetics of Coterie
Respondent: Matt Hubbell
Marjorie Perloff, "Whose
New American Poetrry: Anthologizing in the Nineties"
Andew Epstein, Beautiful Enemies: Friendship and Postwar American
Poetry [O'Hara, Baraka, Ashbery
Michael Magee: Emancipating Pragmatism: Emerson, Jazz, and
Alan Golding, From Outlaw to Classic:
Canons in American Poetry
Jed Rasula, The American Poetry Wax Museum: Reality Effects,
excerpts for discussion
Thurs., Oct 4th 8pm
(TUCC, Room 222)
Temple Week 7/ Penn Week 6. (Oct 9): Charles
Why is Olson considered
major (if he is considered at all)?
Charles Olson, The Maximus Poems
from Book I: “I,
Maximus” (pp. 5-8), “Letter, May 2, 1959” (150-156)
II: “Maximus, from Dogtown-I” (172-176)
from Book III: “I
have been an ability—a machine…” (495-499), “I’m
going to hate to leave this earthly Paradise.” (593-96)
Poems: “In Cold Hell, in Thicket” (155-60), “Letter
for Melville 1951” (233-241), “A Newly Discovered ‘Homeric’ Hymn” (363), “The
Lordly and Isolate Satyrs” (384-387), “I, Mencius,
Pupil of the Master” (318-320), “from The Song of
**PDFs of these
poems (Penn only)**
at PennSound, esp:
SF 1957: . I,
Maximus of Gloucester, to You (4:01)
Vancouver, 1963: Maximus,
to Himself ("I have had to learn the simplest
things / last ..." (2:26); Kingfishers (6:31) ;
Cold Hell, In Thicket (8:38)
Verse” (note also earlier essay on Olson, "Undone
and its Poetic Projects: The construction of masculinity in the
counter-cultural poetry of the U.S. 1950s.” [on Ginsberg,
Olson, Creeley] from Jacket 31.
Respondent: Cindy Padera, Adam Fieled
Olson talking at Goddard College, April 12-14, 1962: pt
one // pt
Kyle Schlesinger's transcript:
Olson 1960 Paris
Anne Waldman, Feminafesto: Olson
Ben Friedlander on Olson, now.
Pierre Joris, Where Is Olson Now?
Other documents at Olson
Now blog & link to documents pageS
Note: full length Olson
studies by Robert von Hallberg, Sherman Paul, Don Byrd, and Charles
Stein & the Olson Collected
Prose edited by Don Allen and Ben
Oct. 10, 7:30pm Rachel Back, KWH
Bob Cobbing celebration
Weds. Oct. 10
Rosenwald Gallery, 6th floor, Van-Pelt Dietrich
Library CenterExhibition reception for "Make Perhaps This Out
of Sense You Can"
Thurs,, Oct. 11
Penn October Break: NO CLASS
Temple students will have conferences on their writing rather
than class; schedule to be announced.
Thurs. Oct. 18 7pm
Janet Neigh and Johanna
Temple Week 8/ Penn Week 7 (Oct. 23)
poetry cluster: “Race,” genres,
and canonicity . . .
Bernstein, "The Poetics of the Americas"
from My Way: earlier version available from Project Muse
"Poetics of the Americas"; Modernism/Modernity 3.3
Rails" (MP3) called by Henry Truvillion at Wiergate,
- Paul Laurence Dunbar (18721906), "When
de Co'n Pone's Hot"
Weldon Johnson (1871-1938): "The
Creation," pp. 17ff (from God's Trombones, 1927);
extensions: esp. recommended: James
Weldon Johnson's intro to The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922).
Also recommended: "Sence
You Went Away" from Bartleby.Com (from Johnson, ed., The
Book of American Negro Poetry.) Johnson's
Under the Bamboo Tree & read
the lyric also. "The
Creation" is also in the Johnson anthology, but the
version listed above is preferable.
- Ma Rainey "See
Blues" (includes working RA file) (1925) (Penn
Rainey is accompanied by Louis Armstrong and Fletcher Henderson
versions of the song "Sitting on Top of the World." Additional
audio of Ma Rainey: Southern
Blues, Real Audio from Red
Hot Jazz'd excellent Rainey site, which has RealAudio files
of much of the Rainy archive.
Brown: "Ma Rainey" & audio;
library: "Old Lem" & audio; "Old
King Cotten" & audio
Weary Blues" (Penn only)
Hughes Extensions: "The
Weary Blues" text on-line, also in Collected Poems at
LION; compare "Weary
Blues" (text) — 1915 — Words by Mort Greene
and George Cates, Music by Artie Matthews. Hughes
on "The Weary Blues" from The Big Sea.
Tolson. "Mu" from Harlem
Gallery (1965) (Further
reading:: Michael Bérubé's Marginal
Forces / Cultural Centers: Tolson, Pynchon, and the Politics
of the Canon (Cornell University Press, 1992 ). Extension
DuPlessis, from Gender, Races, and
Religious Cultures in Modern American Poetry: PDF (Penn
Respondents: David Gardner
Oct. 25 8pm
reads at Temple
(TUCC, room 222)
Temple Week 9/ Penn Week 8 (October 30):
occasional poem, and poetry:
Group formation, “Objectivists” and
the stakes in poetic and political communities, with Special
Reference to George Oppen.
Other poems from the Selected
RBD suggestions, “From Disaster,” “Blood
from the Stone,” “Myself I sing,” “The
Crowded Countries of the Bomb,” “Philai to Kou Philai,” “Psalm,” all
of the selections from Seascape: Needle’s Eye (pp.121-143), “Myth
of the Blaze,” “The Little Pin: Fragment,” “Disasters” (the
one from Primitive).
Oppen reading “Of Being Numerous” via PENNsound.Oppen
See also Oppen
Note: Oppen collected searchable on Google books.
Respondents: Joseph Yearous-Algozin
Temple Week 10/ Penn Week 9 (Nov. 6): Zukofsky
Louis Zukofsky, Selected Poems
Discussion will focus on (CB's selection):
"Poem Beginning 'The"; audio (Penn only)
"Anew" 20 & 21
of Degrees" & audio (Penn
only) of "Songs
of Degrees" (audio also includes "Barely & Widely")
"A-9"; audio (Penn only)
Foin Lass Bodders Me”: compare Pound's
translation of the same poem.from 1928
& from 1934.
Note: this comes from a study of "A"-9,
Respondent:: Jeremiah Bowen
Further Reading: (optional)
See EPC LZ page
LZ cluster, Jacket
Perelman on LZ Selected
Temple Week 11/ Penn Week 10 (Nov 13): Leslie
Class will meet at Kelly Writers House
Leslie Scalapino, Day Ocean State of Stars’ Night: Poems
and Writings, 1989 & 1999-2006
Scalapino will give a public reading a 6:30pm and answer some
questions. After a break, we will meet with her privately till
The EPC page &
have much supplemental material, including, on PennSound, LINEbreak
interview & reading from Day Ocean.
Respondent: Scott McCellan
Temple Week 12/ Penn Week 11 (Nov. 20):
minor modes?: “Littleness.”
trivial, minoritizing rhetorics, and affiliative ambiguity
with special reference to Lorine Neidecker
Lorine Niedecker Collected Works
for class discussion see esp: : New Goose, “New
For Paul and Other Poems, “My Life by Water,” “Wintergreen
Ridge,” “Paean to Place.”
RBD, LN essay in Blue Studios
Thanksgiving is Nov. 22.
Temple Week 13 / Penn Week 12 (Nov 27)
Trivial and the ordinary, with special reference to Hannah Weiner
Hannah Weiner, Hannah Weiner’s
Start HW readings with Clairvoyant Journal; fill text
on line at HW
EPC page and also listening to the March or April audio
recording on the HW
RBD recommends from Open House: :"Radcliffe and Guatemalan
About the Sentence"; "Written
In"; "If Workshop" and possibly The Code Poems
Recommended reading (optional)
Durgin, Psycho-Social Disability and Post-Ableist
Poetics: The “Case” of Hannah Weiner’s Clairvoyant
Further reading: see the extensive material available at HW
Temple Week 14/ Penn Week 13( Dec. 4): Last Seminar
Each seminar participant will give a very short presentations
about their final projects. All participants are asked to post
these final projects/papers to the listserve (though this is
Note for Temple Students:
Final Projects due Saturday Dec. 1
On Dec. 6, RBD flies to San Diego, and thereupon to
Australia. Temple students must have all work for this course
completed by Saturday, Dec. 1. No exceptions.
Note for Penn Students:
Final projects due by Dec. 23. Send by email as attachment
or as web link. Do not leave anything course-related in Penn