EN232 Introduction to Poetry

for S2T 2011

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EN 232 Introduction to Poetry


S2T 2011 DL


Lolly Ockerstrom, Ph.D.


Associate Professor of English


M.A., Ph.D. (English), Northeastern University
Certificate, Martha's Vineyard Advanced Institutes on Writing

Office Location

321 Copley Hall

Office Hours

Mw 11:00-11:50 and 1:30 - 2:45, and online everyday except Sunday. I will respond to emails as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.

Daytime Phone




Semester Dates

14 March - 8 May 2011

Class Days


Class Time



A hunger for poetry!

Credit Hours




  • Meyer, Michael. Poetry: An Introduction.  6th edition. Boston: Bedford, St. Martin's, 2010.


  • Any good dictionary
  • Any good writer's handbook, i.e.: Andrea Lunsford, easy Writer : A Pocket Reference. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St.Martin's, latest edition. 2010.

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

Park University online writing lab. Use pull down menu on Park website to make appointments for both online and in-person sessions.
Purdue University online writing lab: www.purdueowl.edu

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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FAQ's for Online Students - You might find the answer to your questions here.

Course Description:

A study of approaches to reading, understanding, and analyzing lyric poetry in English and American literature. 3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:

 As Paulo Freire argues in Pedagogy of the Oppressed, students are not empty vessels into which professors must pour knowledge. Students bring many experiences and other types of knowing to the classroom. In the spirit of Freire, I try to set up a collaborative classroom environment in which students use what they already know to learn more, and to teach each other. In the online environment, this means using the discussion threads, the virtual cafe, and any other means available to the class to communicate with each other, and with me.

Your presence in this course testifies to your interest in poetry--which in itself identifies you as a person with far-reaching interests in language, words, and ideas. Many of you are probably interested in writing poetry yourself, so this course should help you better understand how poets think. Expect in this class to be challenged by the readings, the quizzes, and the writing assignments. If you don't want to be challenged, then, hmmmm....maybe we should talk! You will be asked to share insights about the poetry, and to discuss readings in critical terms using the language of poetry introduced each week. Your own ideas are very important--but this course is not about what you feel--it's about what you think, and how you are processing new ideas critically. I encourage you to express your own ideas, but I also expect you to show that you are paying attention to the concepts introduced each week. As you develop a vocabulary for discussing poetry, you will enjoy the poetry even more than when you began.
Keep up with the readings, add to your vocabulary, and enjoy our time together!

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Identify the definitive features of poetry as a literary genre
  2. Discuss a representative range of poetic texts
  3. Articulate a response/ interpretation of a single text or body of related texts

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Write clearly and with appropriate detail in all required communication venues.
Core Assessment:

All Park University courses will include a Core Assessment with rubric. This will include ¾ of the Core LearningOutcomes listed above. The Core Assessment in this course will be a major critical paper of no fewer than 5 pages, which will include research and MLA documentation. The project will be completed in the final quarter of the term.

 The rubric for this assignment is published so the student can see the expectations. 

Link to Class Rubric

Class Assessment:

Students will be assessed on the following:
Discussion Threads 30%

3 Response Papers

3 Quizzes 15%
Final Project 20%
Final Essay Exam 15%
Total 100%

Extra credit assignments are not given.


1. Discussion Threads:       120 points
2. Response papers:           80 points
3. Quizzes:                         60 points
4. Critical Project:              80 points
   (10 points for the draft, if accepted; 70 points for the final draft)
5. Final Essay Exam:              60 points
TOTAL POINTS      400 points
            Final Grades:
            A   360 - 400 
            B   320 - 359
            C   280 - 319
            D   240 - 279
            F   239 and below   

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Late work is not accepted. Observe all deadlines. This is only an eight-week course, and there is much to learn! 
Please note the following: 
  • Discussion Threads: No credit for late postings to Discussion Threads. Read carefully the criteria for Discussion Threades: length, deadlines, and topics.  


  • Final Project: The final paper will be due in week 8. However, in week 7, you will submit a rough draft. No final draft paper for the Final Project will be accepted unless you have submitted the rough draft as required, and your project has been accepted. (Details regarding the paper will be discussed in week 7).


  • Final Exam: The Final Exam is required. Failure to take the exam will result in a failing grade for the course (This is Park University policy.) Don't let this happen!



Classroom Rules of Conduct:

 All students are expected to:
  • Show respect for each other, for the Professor, and for the subject matter using discourse appropriate to an academic environment;
  • All postings, emails, comments should use the conventions of Standard Written English. Proofread before posting.
  • Follow instructions for turning in work;
  • Participate in all activities outlined in handouts and explained verbally;
  • Honor guidelines relating to academic honesty and plagiarism.

Willful and knowing plagiarism will result in a failure to pass the course. Plagiarism is the use of ideas or material (directly quoted or not), without providing credit to the source.


Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

Please see the weekly assignments in the online course for full detail. Also check announcements each week.
WEEK ONE: Introduction, chapters 1 and 2. Reading and Writing about Poetry. Discussion thread. Response paper.
WEEK TWO: Chapters 3, 4, and 5. Word Choice, Word Order, and Tone; Images; Figures of Speech. Discussion. Quiz.
WEEK THREE: Chapters 6, 7, and 12. Sounds of Poetry; Listening to Poetry; Rhyme; Meter; Focus on Emily Dickinson. Discussion Thread. Response Paper.
WEEK FOUR: Chapters 8, 9, and 10. Patterns of Rhythm, Poetic Forms, Open Form. Discussion Thread. Quiz. 
WEEK FIVE: Chapters 11, 17. Combining Elements of Poetry. Focus on T.S. Eliot. Discussion Thread. Response Paper.
WEEK SIX: Chapters 18, 21, 23. Thematic readings: Case Study on Love and Longing; Case Study on Crossing Boundaries; Case Study on Contemporary Poetry. Discussion thread. Quiz.
WEEK SEVEN: Chapters 16, 23, 26, 27.  Case Study: Julia Alvarez; Case Study: Contemporary Poetry; Critical Strategies for Reading; Reading and the Writing Process. Discussion Thread. First Draft of Final Project.
WEEK EIGHT: Chapters 13 and 14. Focus on Robert Frost and Langston Hughes. Discussion. Final Draft of Final Project. Final Essay Exam.
Note: The online course shell unfortunately contains a few typographical errors, which will not be corrected until Spring 2 because of timing issues (I have no control over this). If anything puzzles you, or you do not understand the assignment, please email me, and we will work it out. As far as I know, the assignments and chapters listed here are correct. In week three, we will be reading Emily Dickinson--there is a heading in the opening discussion with a huge type ("Peoptry" instead of "Poetry.") Bear with me! I am working to get errors addressed. Let me know if you see any other errors! Many thanks!

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life. Park University students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Always do your own work. Give credit to any ideas or directly quoted material using MLA documentation style.

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93
Any student found to have plagiarized will be withdrawn from the course and receive a failing grade for the course.

Do your own work. Use MLA documentation style for any information you have included in your paper that comes from an outside source. If in doubt about whether you have plagiarized, ask me or use the Academic Support Center.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.
ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.

Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96
Attendance is required, but it means much more than simply logging in. You are expected to participate fully in all activities.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


CompetencyExceeds Expectation (3)Meets Expectation (2)Does Not Meet Expectation (1)No Evidence (0)
1, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Offers clearly stated personal and critical insights to interpretation of poem or poems. Makes adequate personal and critical statements, which are relevant and interpretive. Provides only plot summary, biographical information, or fails to retain focus on poem or poems. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Incorporates primary and secondary sources using MLA documentation style perceptively and creatively in ways that provide new insights into the poem or poems. Incorporates primary and secondary sources using MLA documentation style adequately without particularly fresh insights, but still retains personal voice. Primary and secondary sources used rarely if at all and without adequate MLA documentation. Insights are predictable. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
1, 2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
Provides convincing and innovative connections between texts through careful close reading of poem(s). Provides connections between texts that are obvious but nonetheless plausible and interesting. Connections between texts remain vague and undeveloped. Critique not supported by close readings. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Poetic and critical terminology applied skillfully throughout paper. Poetic and critical terminology used adequately throughout much of the paper. Rarely employs appropriate poetic and critical terminology, misuses it, or omits it altogether. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Content of Communication                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
2, 3                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Skillfully interweaves passages from poem(s) and critical texts as well as strong personal statements that illustrate main point of essay. Adequately incorporates passages from poem(s) and passages from critical texts as well as some personal statements to prove thesis. Rarely provides specific passages from poem(s) or critical theory for analysis, or does so without making connections clear. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Technical Skill in Communicating                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Employs conventions of Standard Written English with grace and style in a well organized, fully developed essay. Employs conventions of Standard Written English adequately in a reasonably well organized and developed essay. Writing shows persistent problems with the use of Standard Written English. Statements are often illogical, incomprehensible; organization and development of ideas do not support thesis. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Multicultural Component                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Gracefully incorporates discussion of the work of one or more multicultural issue and shows relevance to theme of paper. Incorporates discussion of the work of at least one multicultural issue and provides relevant analysis. May mention work of a multicultural issue, but not in any meaningful way. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 
Provides links among a range of poetic texts                                                                                                                                                                                                               
1, 2                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 
Analysis includes full discussion of a range of poetic texts. An attempt is made to include discussion of a range of texts. Paper does not address a range of texts. Does not submit assignment or does not respond appropriately to assignment. 


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Last Updated:2/10/2011 4:22:22 PM