English 191: Poetry Forms

Schedule Links Texts Assignments Policies

Mary Adams, Instructor

Office Hours TR 2-3:30 or by appointment

Ext. 3921 Email: madams (at) wcu.edu Class Web Page: http://www.maryadams.net/classpages/191/eng191.htm

Class Links


Texts :

  • Burke, Carol. The Creative Process. 
  • Purchase: Bishop, Wendy. Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Poem. 


  • Notebook Assignments and Reading Journal. . . . . 40%
  • Formal Poems (Process & Final Portfolio). . . . ... . . .. . 30-40%
  • Other Poems (Process & Final Portfolio). . . . .. .. .. 0-10%
  • Minutes, Participation     10%
  • Midterm       10%  

Attendance and Tardiness You get a total of three absences in this class (excused or not). After that, each additional absence lowers your grade one letter. I count three tardies as one absence. You’re tardy if I’m done taking attendance when you arrive.    Explanation of Assignments: 

  • Reading Journal & Notebook Every class day you will either do a journal (form is attached and downloadable online) on the reading I’ve assigned or complete three “Notebook Options” from that week’s chapter of The Creative Process. You should alternate, so that you have almost as many of each. By the end of the semester, you should have a total of 30 days’ worth of entries. Since your goal for these assignments is to show me that you have read and understood the reading assignment, I will grade t hem based on that, too. 
  • Poems. Most of this course will be occupied with the “forms” of poetry, especially the forms concerned with the sound of poetry. So I’ll assign eight poems this semester, six of which should be “formal” poems (that is, poems using traditional forms). The other two can use forms, too, but you also have the option of working on something else. 
  • Grading: When it comes to language, I hold poets, even amateur poets, to a higher standard than other people. Good grammar (and making sense to your audience) are as important to poets as good technique is to an athlete or a musician.
  • Minutes, Participation. Each person will be responsible for taking minutes at least twice (more if the class is small). You keep a log of what we covered, and I give you a list of who is absent. You record that information, along with any special announcements, on the minutes web page. You can get to the minutes page from our class web site. You’ll also be responsible for talking in class and giving each other good feedback.
  • The Midterm will have short answer (identification) questions and an essay question that asks you to analyze a poem.