Identity Poetics

English 685 ~ Fall 2001 ~ Susan Tichy 

2 Short Papers: 20% each
Exam #1: 15%
Exam #2: 30%
Participation: 15%

Participation: We all share responsibility for making our discussions useful. If this is your first experience of a once-a-week class, keep in mind that a lot must be accomplished in each class session, and if you miss a class you miss an entire week of class. Thus, you are expected to attend the full length of every class meeting, to be prepared for class, and to take part in discussions. I will subtract points for excessive absence or lateness, lack of preparedness, and/or lack of participation in discussion. I will add points for those who take the lead in discussions by beginning or extending topics and ideas. You may introduce a line of discussion, or you may respond to othersí ideas, thus taking us to new depths of thought. This is not meant to encourage showing off or competition to see whose ideas make the most splash. I am just as likely to add points for those who facilitate the process of discussion, ask good questions, make sure we cover the basics of each topic, and donít let unanswered questions slip away. You can be a valuable member of the class (and help your grade) even if all this material is new to you and your analyses are not the most advanced in the room.

Late policy: Late work will be accepted in cases of incapacitating illness or injury, or family emergency. You will have to provide documentation of any emergency.

Rewrite policy: Papers receiving a grade below B will be rewritten until they reach a B level. 

Papers: Guidelines will be posted. Topics must be discussed with me at least one week before the due date. Turn in a one page, double-spaced plan, or send it by e-mail. First paper will be on Mackey, Brathwaite, Mullen, or Jazz Poetry. Second paper will be on a Scottish poet or Torres. 
Undergraduates: Papers should be 1700-2200 words. Graduates: Papers should be 2000-2500 words.

The take-home exams are essentially assigned short essays. Their format will resemble the format of the MFA reading exam in that you will have a choice of questions and also a choice of poets to use to discuss those question. Exams will be graded blind -- that is, I wonít know whose exam I am grading. The first exam will focus on fundamental issues of identity poetry. Its main purpose is to help you sort out your thoughts and identify some of your chief interests and questions early in the course. You will choose two questions from a list of 5 or 6, and write short, open-book, essay responses.

In the second exam one of your essays will focus on the work of a single poet from weeks 12-15; the other will use two or more poets to discuss a broad issue from the course. These essays will
be more substantial than those required in the first exam. Instructions and requirements will differ slightly for graduates and undergraduates.

Creative Papers: The format of this course, with a lot of reading and so little time spent on any one poet, does not lend itself to substituting creative projects for any of the papers or exams. If you are interested in writing poems or producing some other creative project in conjunction with this course, come talk to me. You may wish to register for an additional credit hour in independent study (499/699) or Directed Reading & Writing (798). 


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