Montgomery County Community College

ENG 235 CC Poetry

Syllabus for Fall 2003



Peter C. Scheponik



BS Secondary Education, Villanova University

Masters in the Teaching of English, Villanova University

28 years experience teaching



P 452





Office Hours/Days:

452 Parkhouse Hall

M: 2:00 p.m.—3:00 p.m.

      7:00 p.m.—8:00 p.m.

MW: 11:15a.m.—12:15 p.m.

TTH: 2:15 p.m.—3:15 p.m.

And upon request



Class Days/Times:


MWF: 10:10 a.m.—11:05 a.m.



Contemporary American Poetry, ed. by A. Poulin Jr. and Michael Waters

Contemporary Guide to Literary Terms by  Barton


Course Description:

The course will include a study of the techniques and styles of poetry as a means of understanding human experience.  The course will be a survey of poems selected because of the insights and revelations which they provide.  The course will also provide appropriate background information and instruction in types, techniques, and styles of poetic composition with special emphasis on the relationship of these matters to the poetic vision of each work.



·        Since performance/explication/analysis/discussion/attendance form 50% of the grade for the course, attendance for all classes is required. Should there be an emergency(ies), the student must inform the instructor of the reason(s). It is up to the instructor to excuse or not excuse the absence.

·        Each unexcused absence will lower a student’s final average for the course by one full letter grade.

·        Four or more unexcused absences will result in a final grade of “W” or “F.”


Course Requirements:

·        Regular attendance/regular participation: attentive listening, completing required readings, performing, explicating, analyzing, and discussing ideas during each class session.

·        Two (2) oral performance/explications: one explication for a single poem by each of the poets assigned with a printout of a Web site or short biographical sketch of the poet and a one page outline of points being explicated about the poem.

·        One (1) objective final that includes short definitions, identifications, and explications.



·        Each student will be assigned two specific poets.  The student must then select a particular poem from that poet to present to the class.  The presentation will involve an oral performance of the poem by the student, followed by an explication of the poem according to critical approach, tone, style, voice, form, imagery, and theme of the poet.  Explication will be followed by class analysis and discussion of the poem as an expression of the human experience, generating the sharing of opinions and interpretations.

·        Students will be  required to find some biographical background information about their assigned poets to be shared with the class.

·        Students will provide an outline of their explications of the poems they have chosen to perform.

·        Students will be required to take one objective final exam at the end of the semester.

·        There will be one to three “coffee house” experiences, where students may perform their own work or that of another poet.




Attendance/participation – 50%

Poetry performances– 25%

Final – 25%




·        This course will familiarize students with the application of literary devices in the explication/analysis of modern American poetry.

·        This course will introduce students to common critical approaches used in literary analysis.

·        This course will engender an understanding of the meaning of universality as applied to the poetic experience.

·        This course will develop a deeper awareness of the form, purpose, and process of poetry and the cathartic and philosophic dimensions it offers humanity.

·        This course will seek to engender a deeper understanding of and appreciation for the promise of personal fulfillment that poetry offers all of us, while enkindling the muse that each of us houses in his/her heart.



·        Building community is essential.

·        People who value others and themselves have a tendency to flourish.

·        The ability to nurture fosters intellectual, emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual well being.

·        We will all work together to create a sense of genuine community in this class.

·        No bias or bigotry will be tolerated.

·        Plagiarism/cheating on the final will result in an “F” for the course.


Students with Disabilities Policy:


“Students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodation in this course. Contact the Director of Services for Students with Disabilities in the Counseling Center, College Hall, at (215) 641-6575/6577 for more information.  At West Campus, contact the Director of Student Affairs, (610) 718-1839.”

Academic Ethics:

Please read the attached documentation for explanation of cheating, plagiarism, and the consequences involved.


Course Schedule:


Wednesday, 9/3

Introduction/explication of syllabus

Definition of literary terms

Introduction to critical approaches


Friday, 9/5

Robert Haas pp. 201-208.

Sharon Olds pp. 403-409

Gerald Stern pp. 521-529


Monday, 9/8

Ai pp. 3-8

A.R. Ammons pp. 11-17


Wednesday, 9/10

John Ashberry pp. 19-32


Friday, 9/12

Marvin Bell pp. 33-38

John Berryman pp. 41-47


Monday, 9/15

Elizabeth Bishop pp.49-57

Robert Bly pp.59-65


Wednesday, 9/17

Gwendolyn Brooks pp.67-73

Olga Broumas pp. 75-83


Friday, 9/19

Lucille Clifton pp. 85-91

Robert Creeley pp.93-97


Monday, 9/22

James Dickey pp. 101-106

Stephen Dobyna pp. 109-116


Wednesday, 9/24 

Rita Dove pp. 119-125

Alan Dugan pp. 127-132


Friday, 9/26

Carol Frost pp. 135-143

AllenGinsberg pp. 145-152


Monday, 9/29

Louise Gluck pp. 155-160

Albert Goldbarth pp. 163-169


Wednesday, 10/1

Kimiko Hohn pp. 173-180

Donald Hall pp. 183-189


Friday, 10/3

Michael Harper pp. 191-198

Robert Hayden pp. 211-217


Monday, 10/6

William Heyen pp. 219-227

Andrew Hudgins pp. 229-235



Wednesday, 10/8

Richard Hugo pp. 237-242

David Ingatow pp. 245-251


Friday, 10/10

Donald Justice pp. 253-259

Galway Kinnell pp. 261-267


Monday, 10/13

Carolyn Kizer pp. 271-274

Bill Knott pp. 279-285


Wednesday, 10/15

Yusef Komunyakoa pp. 287-292

Maxine Kumin pp. 295-301


Friday, 10/17

Stanley Kunitz pp. 301-310

Li-Young Lee pp. 313-319


Monday, 10/20

Denise Levertov pp. 321-326

Philip Levine pp. 329-336


Wednesday, 10/22

John Logan pp. 339-344

Robert Lowell pp. 347-351


Friday, 10/24

William Matthews pp. 355-360

James Merrill pp. 363-368


Monday, 10/27

W.S. Merwin pp. 371-377

Marilyn Nelson pp. 379-384


Wednesday, 10/29

Naomi Shihab Nye pp. 387-393

Frank O’Hara pp. 395-400


Friday, 10/31

Carl Philips pp. 411-419

Sylvia Plath pp. 421-425


Monday, 11/3

Adrienne Rich pp. 429-436

Anne Sexton pp. 439-445


Wednesday, 11/5

Charles Simic pp.447-453

Louis Simpson pp. 455-462



Friday, 11/7

W.D. Snodgrass pp.467-473

Gary Snyder pp. 475-483


Monday, 11/10

Gary Soto pp. 485-491

Elizabeth Spires pp. 493-500


Wednesday, 11/12

David St. John pp. 503-509

William Stafford pp. 513-519


Friday, 11/14

Mark Strand pp. 531-537

Ellen Bryant Voigt pp. 539-545


Monday, 11/17

Richard Wilbur pp. 547-553

C.K. Williams pp. 555-562


Wednesday, 11/19

Charles Wright pp. 565-572

James Wright pp. 575-583


Friday, 11/21

Conferences on oral presentations


Monday, 11/24

Oral presentations


Wednesday, 11/26—Sunday, 11/30

Thanksgiving Holiday



Monday, 12/1

Oral presentations


Wednesday, 12/8

Oral presentations


Friday, 12/10

Final due


Monday, 12/12