COMP 221(F) The Poetry of Everyday Life: Twentieth-Century European Poets (W)
The course will be a comparative study of modern poetry as written in the twentieth century, and especially since World War II, by European poets of various national backgrounds as they have come to confront different historical events, lyrical traditions, and personal experiences and as they have meditated poetically on the reality of everyday things, on the nature of perception and language, on the instability of the poetic self, and on poetry's unique power to understand and give meaning to the mysteries of human life. From England, we will study the postcolonial writings of the West-Indian poet Derek Walcott and the Darwinian atavism of Ted Hughes; from France, the celebration of trivial phenomena (oranges, shells, insects, blackberries) of Francis Ponge and the machine-age poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire; from Germany, the mystical works of Rainer Maria Rilke and the post-Holocaust and dialogical poems of Paul Celan; from Ireland, the poetry of political, feminist, and domestic struggle of Eavan Boland and Seamus Heaney; from Italy, the crystalline lyrics of Eugenio Montale; from Portugal, the heteronymic poetry of Fernando Pessoa; and from Russia, the acmeist work of Osip Mandelstam. Students will also read theoretical and critical essays on poetry and poetics by these poets and others. All readings in English. Format: seminar. Requirements: active class participation, class presentations, one exam, and three papers. No prerequisites. Enrollment limit: 19 (expected: 10-12). (Literary Genres)