20th and 21st-century American Poetry: Ethics, Aesthetics, Politics 4219-RS217
The seminar will introduce the students to the most current phenomena in American Poetry seen in their historical context. The course will follow the most important developments in 20th and 21st century poetry focusing on the interconnections between ethics, aesthtics and politics. Starting with avant-garde movements of early 20th century, we will look at how poetry grows out of its context (material, political, environmental, ethnic) and how it enters into a conversation with other artistic disciplines (visual arts, the cinema) as well as with technology and science. We will look at the evolution (and persistence) of metaphors concerning freedom, the relationship between the individual and the society, or between nature and culture. We will consider the changing meaning of the political in art. Especially with regards to 21st century, ecocriticism will be employed as one of the interpretative strategies, as we will attempt to trace the evolution of post-pastoral, environmental sensitivity in contemporary poetry.
Much attention will be paid to close readings of selected poems. The course will thus enhance the students' interpretative skills in teaching them how to engage with and respond to difficult, non-linear, experimental texts.
The students will write short responses to individual poems in the course of the semester as well as a longer essay at the end (15-20 pages)
Type of course
Having completed the course:
- students have the knowledge of the most important phenomena in 20th and 21st century American poetry.
- they understand and interpret experimental poetic texts, with the understanding of relationships between aesthetics, ethics and politics.
- they have a basic understanding of English prosody.
Permanent assessment based on attendance and participation, including short written responses to individual poems (60%), term paper (15-20 pages - 40%)
"Norton Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry" (various editions)
"The New American Poetry of Engagement: A 21st Century Anthology" (ed. Ann Keniston and Jeffrey Gray)
"American Poets in the 21'st Century: The New Poetics" (ed. Claudia Rankine and Lisa Sewell)
"Black Nature. Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry" (ed. Camille Dungy)
Douglas Mao, Solid Objects: Modernism and the Test of Production (Princeton, 1998)
Jerome McGann, "radiant textuality. literature after the world wide web" (Palgrave, 2001).
Mariorie Perloff, "Radical Artifice: Writing Poetry in the Age of Media" (University of Chicago Press, 1991)
Marjorie Perloff, "21-st Century Modernism: the 'New' Poetics" (Blackwell, 2002)
"Ecopoetics. Essays in the Field" Ed. Angela Hume and Gillian Osborne, "University of Iowa Press, 2018).
Additional information (registration calendar, class conductors, localization and schedules of classes), might be available in the USOSweb system: