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English Department


English 471: Modern Poetry


Schedule Links Texts Objectives Assignments Policies

Mary Adams, Instructor

Class Meets MWF from 1:25 to 2:15 in Coulter 105
Office Hours MWF 3-4 PM or by appointment

Ext. 3270 Email: madams@wcu.edu Class Web Page: http://www.maryadams.net/classpages/471/index.html

Class Links
Texts :
  • Rental.  Gioia, Dana. Twentieth Century American Poetry (TCAP). (Buy used)
  • Purchase: Gioia, Dana. Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry (POAP). (Buy used)
  • Purchase: Finch, Annie, editor. An Exaltation of Forms. (Buy used)

Course Objectives

Students will learn:

  1. To read, discuss, and understand twentieth century American poetry
  2. To understand the literary techniques used to compose it and the styles used to define it
  3. To recognize characteristics of various movements and schools in modern American poetry, and to distinguish between them
  4. To produce thoughtful written work demonstrating the abilities learned in 1-3 above
  • Quizzes (daily) 20%
  • Reading Sheets. . . . . 25%
  • Midterm 10%
  • Paper : Reading + Research. two books by a single author, or read several poets in a school or movement. 15%
  • Participation (including online participation)     10%
  • Final Exam     15%
  • Note taking (assigned to one student each day) 5% 
Explanation of Assignments:
  • Daily Quizzes: these quizzes will take 5 minutes. They will cover the reading assigned for that day. Students may use notes but not books to take the quizzes. I will not allow makeup quizzes.
  • Reading sheets: These assignments comprise 25% of your grade. Your goal in them is to show me that you've done the assignment. I grade them based on detail and specificity, not grammar.
    NOTE: I DO NOT RECORD THE GRADES at the time I return the assignment. You are responsible for keeping the graded assignments in a folder, and I will assign a grade of all the assignments at the end of the semester. DON'T THROW AWAY ANY GRADED ASSIGNMENTS!
  • Note taking: Each day, a student will be assigned the task of taking notes. This should happen twice, and may happen three times. The notes should be a thorough, well-proofed transcription of class discussion, lecture notes, and questions/ answers. The notetaker should also record which students are absent, and should note any changes or updates to the syllabus. These notes should be posted on the class discussion board with 24 hours of the end of class.


Attendance and Tardiness

You get a total of four absences in this class (excused or not). After that, each additional absence lowers your grade one letter. I count three tardies as one absence. Youíre tardy if Iím done taking attendance when you arrive. NOTE: You are also absent if you don't bring the books we're discussing for that day!

This policy is consistent with the university attendance policy.

Academic Integrity

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is the inaccurate or unacknowledged use of another's material. One plagiarized assignment will result in a 0 for the assignment; a second instance will result in failure of the course and may result in legal action.

  • The university's policy can be found in the faculty handbook.
    The university procedure includes the following language:

    "Instructors have the right to determine the appropriate sanction or sanctions for academic dishonesty within their courses up to and including a final grade of "F" in the course. Within 5 calendar days of the event, the instructor will inform his or her department head in writing of the academic dishonesty charge and sanction."

Electronic Devices in Class

Unless you have a documented disability which requires you to have a laptop in class, you may not use one during class time. Unfortunately, too many students have abused laptops in class for me to permit their use. The same is true for cell phones, ipods, gameboys, or any device that requires headphones. If you must keep your cell phone on, please turn off the ringer and put it away. First-time abuses of this policy will result in the student being warned. Subsequent abuses will result in an absence.

The policy above also covers text messaging. I consider text or instant messaging or any other activity that distracts your classmates and keeps you from learning to be unforgivable.