English 609 is a graduate course offered by Western Carolina Univesity in Cullowhee, NC.



Academic Integrity Policy*

Academic Resources*

Description of grade breakdown*

my classes




Wk Date Day Topic (Note, anything with an ansterisk appear on a quiz)
1 W 19-Aug

Four levels of poetry; the sensory level



Reading for next week: Descriptive poems, list poems

2 W 26-Aug

Four levels of poetry;

sonic level, ideational level (myth)

Reading for next week: sonic level

Writing Homework: post a poem on the first discussion board. Write a poem describing a collections of old objects, a old photograph you have some connection to but don't know well, or a landscape, a list on things on your desk (or some other list), a poem using specialized vocabulary (like quilting), or an object (like an old boat) described as your parents--or choose another topic.

Respond to the three workshop poems plus at least three others. Try to make sure everyone gets responded to.

3 W 2-Sep

Discussion of the sonic poems

Workshopping (use this prompt):



Reading for next week: Myth/ persona poems

Writing Homework: Try a sonic poem that uses sounds.

4 W 9-Sep

Discussion of mythic poems.

Workshopping (use this prompt):

Revision: Yeats at Work.

Reading for Next week:

Poetry Readings for next week: syllabics and stress prosody examples

Poetry readings for next week (Voice, Directives, and other kinds of persona poems)

Writing Homework: Try a "myth" poem or poem from the point of view of a fictional or historical character.

5 W 16-Sep

Four levels of poetry: sonic level (accentual prosody and syllabic prosody)

Workshopping (use this prompt):

Reading for next week: repeating forms

Poet's Companion 151-170

Poetry Reading for next week Sestinas

Online: Other repeating forms

Writing homework: Try a directive. Try a poem using either syllabic or stress prosody.

6 W 23-Sep


Suggestions for finding Sestina end-words

  • Random words from dictionary
  • Finding six words from the same context (e.g. X files, video games, cartoons, painting, opera, menus, bible, advertising, car repair manual, cookbook, food group, etc.)
  • six cognates (for example, the words helmet, hell, hall, hull, hole, cover, colon, color, conceal, apocalypse, eucalyptus, holster, occult, cellar, housing, and supercilious all come from the same Indo-European root--see American Heritage Dictionary for etymologies) and this poem for an example of a poem that uses roots

Reading for next week:

  • Gluck, Faithful and Virtuous Night
  • Addonzio 28 (pp 237-49)
  • article: Scan and variation
  • How to scan

iambic pentameter poems for next week:

Online "St Crispin's Day" speech by Shakespeare (and hear Kenneth Branagh say it); Coleridge, Frost at Midnight; Browning, "The Bishop Orders his Tomb;" Frost, "Mending Wall""Home Burial"; "Birches*," Stevens, "Idea of Order at Key West*," Wilbur, "Lying*," Stafford "Traveling," Merrill "Charles on Fire, Rich "Living in Sin,*" Nemerov, Gyroscope, Stanford, Private Autumn

Writing Homework: Write a sestina

7 W 30-Sep

Iambic Pentameter

  • Gluck: Faithful and Virtuous Night


Ideational level: Other arts

Reading for next week: Ekphrasis

Homework: Required Assignment: Blank verse (at least 20 lines)
8 W 7-Oct

Discussion: Poems about Art


Readings for Next Week

  • Bly's Leaping Poetry (selections)* see Blackboard
  • Poet's Companion: 129-138 ("Stop Making Sense")

Procedural poems for next week:

Homework: Write a poem about art (or choose your own topic)
9 W 21-Oct

Billy Collins, "Workshop,"

Discussion: Procedural poems




For next week: Rhyming forms and the Ghazal

  • More in the way of explanation
  • Ghazal net (online site of ghazals in English)
  • Another site with ghazals; more explanations
  • Sonic level: kinds of rhyme
  • Typographical level: Stanzas, strophes, verse paragraphs

Reading for next week (these poems are either ghazals or they use rhyme in ways that disguise it or transform it)

Homework: Write a procedural or "Found" poem (or choose your own topic)

10 W 28-Oct

Discussion: tapping the unconscious and Bly's Leaping Poetry

Turco discussion: Sonic level rhyme


Reading for next week:


Homework: write a ghazal or a poem that borrows a form or rhyme strategy (varied line length, enjambment, half rhyme, internal rhyme, etc.) from another poem (make sure that it rhymes and that you observe some of the rules of hiding rhyme).

11 W 4-Nov



Readings for Next Week: Elegies and Animals

homework: Write a sapphic (or choose another topic)

12 W 11-Nov


Sonic level: pantoums and villanelles (read for next week)

Homework: Write an elegy or animal poem (or choose another topic)

13 W 18-Nov

Exercise: Narrative into poem

Speech Acts: the manner of expression (as opposed to the content). Examples of speech acts include: question, promise, plea, declaration, prayer, offer, warning, advice, call, chant, oath, thank, apologize, and command. Others: deictics: "Over here!" "See you soon."


sonic level: sonnets and fourteeners, including nonce sonnets

HomeworK: Write one of the following: pantoum, villanelle, terzanelle, triolet, or sonnet (required if you didn't write a sapphic) or choose another topic

15 W 2-Dec


Ideational level: ars poetica; literature and language

William Matthews Inspiration 980

By next Tuesday, send or bring a portfolio with a preface or ars poetica (poem about poetry) at the beginning.

Final W 9-Dec Portfolio due; Poetry Reading

madams (at) wcu.edu