Poetics and the Art of Poetic Expression

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Discipline CoreSOL2EN3234

Semester and Year Offered: MA I & II Year

Course Coordinator: Dr. Amit Singh

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: None

Course Objectives/Description:

This course analyses the genre of poetry from the perspectives of critical thought, form and expression. The course begins with a section that peruses the discourse around the genre of poetry. From poets’ formulations on the art of poetry and its aesthetic and social relevance to the critics’ responses to poets, poems and poetry itself, this section strives to cover some of the most representative writings on the genre coming from different systems of thought. In the next section, various forms of poetry will be studied through some representative examples. Stanza forms and their histories will be traced. Literary techniques and devices used by poets to embellish their poetry and convey their message more effectively will also be examined in this section. In the final section of the course, some representative issues and subjects of poetry will be studied with specific attention to the poet’s universal quest for perfection. Ultimately, the course aims to sensitize students towards the possibility of transforming personal experience into poetic expression. The course will include poetry workshop(s) on literary devices as well as the elements of poetry. Various liminal spaces of interdependence between poetry and other modes of expression shall also be explored.

Course Outcomes: On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate thorough understanding and knowledge of different forms and genres of poetry.
  2. Reflect critical thinking through an understanding of the thoughts on poetry spread across ages and traditions.
  3. Demonstrate reflective thinking through an investigation into the various movements that have defined poetry, and vice versa.
  4. Illustrate commitments to lifelong learning necessary to understand ever-evolving genre of poetry and poetic expressions across globe.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1:

Plato, Selections from The Republic

Aristotle, Selections from Poetics

Wislawa Szymborska, “Noble Prize Acceptance Speech, 1996”

Bhamah, Kavyalankar, Chapter 2 and 4

Rajashekhara, Kavyamimaṃsa, Chapter 12 and 17

Paul Valery, “Poetry and Abstract Thought”

Edgar Allen Poe, “The Philosophy of Composition”

Sean O’ Brien, “The Poet in Theatre: Verse Drama”

Pat Pattison, “Song Lyrics and Poetry”

Module 2:

1.Types of Poetry

Dirge: William Shakespeare, Ariel’s Song, “Full Fathom Five Thy Father Lies” in The Tempest (1610)

Eclogue: Virgil, “Eclogue I”

Elegy: Giacomo Leopardi, “To Silvia”

Ghazal: Mir Taqi Mir, “Faqir-like I Came”

Lyric: Stephane Mallarme, “The Flower”

Ode: Sappho, “Ode to Aphrodite”

Sestina: Algernon Charles Swinburne, “Complaint of Lisa”

Villanelle: Wystan Hugh Auden, “If I could Tell You”

2.Forms of Poetry

Blank Verse: Coleridge, “Frost at Midnight”

Free Verse: Goethe, “Prometheus”

Ottava Rima: William Butler Yeats, “Sailing to Byzantium”

Quatrain: Charles Causley, “The Prisoners of Love”

Module 3:

This module focuses on an in-depth reading of select poems by the following poets: Guiseppe Ungaretti, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Baba Nagarjun, Wislawa Szymborska, Joseph Brodsky, Dennis Brutus and Christopher Okigbo.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Mid-semester Examination: 20%
  • Class Presentation: 20%
  • Seminar/ Workshop: 30%
  • Term paper: 30%

Reading List:

  • Abhinavagupta’s Abhinavabharati
  • Anandwardhan’s Dhvanyalok
  • Aristotle’s Poetics
  • Bhamah’s Kavyalankar
  • Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria
  • Edgar Allen Poe, ‘The Philosophy of Composition’
  • G. Leech’s A Linguistic Guide to English Poetry
  • Horace’s Ars Poetica
  • Keats’s Letters
  • Laura (Riding) Jackson, ‘Poetic Reality and Critical Unreality’
  • Longinus’ ‘On the Sublime’
  • Mammata’s Kavya-prakâsha
  • Matthew Arnold, ‘The Art of Poetry’
  • Paul Verlaine, ‘Critique of Poetry’
  • Plato’s The Republic
  • Rajashakhara’s Kāvyamīmāṃsā
  • T. S. Eliot, ‘Tradition and the Individual Talent’
  • The ECCO Anthology of Poetry
  • The Norton Anthology of Poetry
  • W. B. Yeats’s Autobiography
  • Wislawa Szymborska’s ‘Noble Prize Acceptance Speech’ and her collections of poetry: The Monologue of a Dog, and A View of the Grain.