This course is for students interested in cultivating a richer understanding of poetry and its unique pleasures and challenges. It provides an introduction to some of the most beloved poems in the British tradition, from the Renaissance to the twentieth century, and it emphasizes language in poetry. There are no prerequisites but I’ll expect you to have a non-trivial grasp of English grammar. We’ll review the basics of craft (fundamental conventions such as lineation, meter, and rhyme; basic traditional forms such as couplet, quatrain, stanza, sonnet, song, narrative poem; diction, tone, and sound patterns; imagery; figurative language; irony and ambiguity). We’ll also touch on larger issues such as period styles and aesthetics; voice, persona, and the cultural authority of the poet. In-class close readings will center on representative poems by Shakespeare, Donne, Pope, Coleridge, Yeats, T. S. Eliot, and others. Texts: I have ordered the following inexpensive editions at the UBookstore: Shakespeare, The Sonnets (Folger Shakespeare Mass Market ppb); John Donne, Selected Poems (Dover). Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock (Dover); S. T. Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (Dover). T. S. Eliot, The Waste Land, Prufrock and other Poems (Dover). If you already own a Collected/Selected Poems by any of the authors on the above list you can use it. Many of the poems we’ll read are contained in major anthologies like the Norton Anthology of Poetry, and many can be read online. Requirements and grading: (1) attendance, participation, quizzes: 25% of your course grade; (2) midterm: memorize and recite 2-3 poems with a total of at least 50 lines, and answer brief questions on the poems you’ve chosen (there will be a list of poems to choose from): 25% of your course grade; (3) final (oral): discuss two poems on the reading list (excluding the midterm poems): 50% of your course grade.