West Chester University

Fall 2001

Spring 2002

West Chester University

Fall 2002



Course Information
  Lit 165 Syllabus
  ENG 020 Syllabus
  About the Instructor

Notes for Introduction to Literature
  Approaching Literature
  Notes on the Art of Fiction: Early Forms
  The Short Story
  Graduate Students Define the Art of Fiction
  Bartleby the Scrivener - Questions for Analysis
  Notes on Melville
  Critical Approaches to Literature
  A Vocabulary for Short Fiction and Beyond
  Study Guide for Fiction Exam
  Reading Poetry
  The Craft of Poetry
  A Catalogue of Poems
  Notes on Langston Hughes
  Lines of Continuity
  Poetry Take Home Exam
  The Birth of Drama
  A Doll House
  Study Guide for the Final Exam
  A Glossary of Literary Terms

Notes for Basic Writing (ENG 020)
  The Rhetorical Situation
  Essay #1 Assignment Sheet
  Workshop Assignment for Essay#1
  How to Write Descriptively
  Building a Thesis
  Overcoming Reader's Block
  Analysis and the Culture of Advertising
  Essay #2 Assignment Sheet
  Writing Effective Introductions
  Writing Effective Conclusions
  Propaganda Analysis
  Politics and the English Language
  Propaganda: A Sample Analysis
  Midterm Exam: Tips for Writing on the Spot
  Notes on Rational Argument
  Mapping the Parts of an Arugment

General Announcements
  Announcements for LIT 165
  Assignments for LIT 165
  Announcements for ENG 020
  Assignments for ENG 020


Go Exploring
  A Weblog for LIT 165
  A Weblog for ENG 020

Join the Conversation
  LIT 165 Discussion List
  ENG 020 Discussion List


What Poetry and Other Literary Genres Share ~~

Poetry has much in common with fiction.

  1. Poetry, like fiction, is imaginative literature, a creative work of the imagination. Its author has created a world we can enter into that will at some level bring us back meaningfully to our own world. It's that same imaginative journey.
  2. Poetry has characters. The speaker in a poem is a "character." It's not developed in the same way it might be in a short story, but the voice of the speaker in a poem is analogous to the narrator of a short story--it's the voice communicating with us, speaking to us, or, at least, speaking, and we're overhearing it. Sometimes poems contain characters that the speaker tells us about. Sometimes poems are even little narratives, little vignettes. They're pretty different from the kinds of plotted stories fiction offers, but they are stories. (You can't imagine a short story writer giving us "Stopping by Woods" or "Dust of Snow," for instance, but they are brief stories, nonetheless.)
  3. Sometimes poems are more developed more like short stories ("Rain," for example).
  4. Poetry has point of view. The speaker provides us with a perspective, a vantage point from which to view thought, ideas, feelings, actions. The speaker is analogous, as we already said, to a short story's narrator.
  5. Poems share many literary elements with fiction (and drama). Including:
    THEME (Although Archibald MacLeish tells us a poem "shouldn't mean but be," most readers look for meaning in poems anyway. We can look at "Those Winter Sundays" (p. 532) as well as any other poem on any other list!
    AMBIGUITY. Poems are "open to interpretation" to a very high degree! We can look at "My Papa's Waltz" (p. 701).
    IRONY. Poets, along with many other kinds of writers, have that ironic sense. We can look at a few good examples--"The Unknown Citizen" (p. 874), "Richard Cory" (p. 640), and "Golf Links" (handout).
    SYMBOL. Recall "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening." Remember how the speaker visits those snowy woods, which might symbolize that final resting place, his attraction to death? And how at the end of the poem he leaves the woods and chooses life? Well, other poems can be read symbolically, too. Let's look at "Aunt Jennifer's Tigers" (handout), "Rain" (handout), and "The Tyger" (handout and on p. 698).
    PARADOX. What can it mean that "much madness is divinest sense"? Check out Emily Dickenson's poem on p. 761 for a good look at paradox.






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