Monday, January 13: Introductions. Discussion of short poems from early in the twentieth century [Full Handout]: Ezra Pound, “In a Station of the Metro” (1913) [Online]; William Carlos Williams, “This Is Just To Say” [Online]; Jean Toomer, “Portrait in Georgia” [Online], Wallace Stevens, “Bantams in Pine-Woods” [Online]

Wednesday, January 15: Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself” 1, 6, 24 [Norton p. 24, 27, 40] or [Online]; Emily Dickinson, 1263/1129 [“Tell all the Truth but tell it slant -,” Norton p. 97] or [Online], 620/435 [“Much Madness is divinest Sense -,” Norton p. 92] or [Online]

Friday, January 17: Charles Chestnutt, “The Goophered Grapevine” (1887) [Norton p. 458] or [Google Books]

Week 2: Blog post 1, Group A. Blog comments, Group B.

Monday, January 20: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. No class.

Wednesday, January 22: Henry James, “The Real Thing” (1892) [Norton p. 366]

Friday, January 24: Edith Wharton, “The Descent of Man” (1903) [Collab]

Week 3: Blog post 1, Group B. Blog comments, Group A.

Monday, January 27: Gertrude Stein: “The Gentle Lena” (1909) [Collab] or [online]

Wednesday, January 29: Modernist manifestoes. F.T. Marinetti, from “Manifesto of Futurism” (1909) [Norton p. 795]; Mina Loy, “Feminist Manifesto” (1914) [Norton p. 797]; Ezra Pound, “A Retrospect” (1913-1918) [Norton p. 800]

Friday, January 31: Robert Frost, “Mending Wall” (1914) [Norton p. 729], “The Death of the Hired Man” (1914) [Norton p. 730], “After Apple-Picking” (1914) [Norton p. 734], “Birches” (1916) [Norton p. 736]


Monday, February 3: T.S. Eliot, “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” (1915) [Norton p.  822; if interested, also see the first 9 pages of Julian Peters’s remarkable comic book adaptation]

Wednesday, February 5: Sherwood Anderson, “Hands” (1919) [Norton p. 755], “Mother” (1919) [Norton p. 758]

Friday, February 7: William Carlos Williams, “Portrait of a Lady” (1920) [Norton p. 780], “Spring and All” [Norton p. 781], “To Elsie” [Norton p. 782], “The Red Wheelbarrow” [Norton p. 784], OPTIONAL: from Spring and All [Norton p. 804]

Monday, February 10: Wallace Stevens, “Anecdote of the Jar” (1923) [Norton p. 773], “Gubbinal” (1923) [Online], “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” (1931) [Norton p. 773]

Wednesday, February 12: Jean Toomer, from “Cane” (1923) [Norton p. 959-963]

Friday, February 14: A snow day deferred our discussion of Hemingway until 2/24. Ernest Hemingway, “The Snows of Kiliminjaro” (1936) [Norton p. 1021]

Monday, February 17: Langston Hughes, “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” (1921) [Norton p. 1038], “The Weary Blues” (1925) [Norton p. 1040], “Song for a Dark Girl” (1927) [Norton p. 1042], “Visitors to the Black Belt” (1940) [Norton p. 1042]. Student Expert.

Wednesday, February 19: Zora Neale Hurston, “How It Feels To Be Colored Me” (1928) [Norton p. 940], “The Gilded Six-Bits” (1933) [Norton p. 943]. Student Expert.

Friday, February 21: No class.

Monday, February 24: make-up discussion of Ernest Hemingway, “The Snows of Kiliminjaro” (1936) [Norton p. 1021]. (This pushed Richard Wright, “The Man Who Was Almost a Man” (1939)  [Norton p. 1060] off the syllabus. This is a terrific story, and if you have a chance, perhaps once the semester’s over, read it.)

Wednesday, February 26: Eudora Welty, “Petrified Man” (1941) [Norton p. 1094]. Student Expert.

Friday, February 28: William Faulkner, “Was” (1942) [Collab]. Student Expert.


Monday, March 17:  Snow day. 

Wednesday, March 5: Ralph Ellison, “Battle Royal” (1952) [Norton p. 1211]. Student Expert.

Friday, March 7: Flannery O’Connor, “Good Country People” (1955) [Norton p. 1340]. Student Expert.

Monday, March 10 – Friday, March 14: Spring Break

Monday, March 17: Snow day.

Wednesday, March 19: Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” (1956) [Norton p. 1356], “Footnote to Howl” (1956) [Norton p. 1363]. Student Expert.

Close Reading Essay is due on Wednesday, March 19 at 10 p.m. It will be accepted without penalty, however, until Saturday, March 22 at 10 p.m.

Friday, March 21: Donald Barthelme, “The Balloon” (1968) [Collab].

Monday, March 24: Robert Coover, “The Babysitter” (1969) [Collab]. Student Expert. The Norton includes no contextual overview for Coover. If you’re interested in his background, check out this (admittedly long) entry from The Dictionary of Literary Biography.

Wednesday, March 26: Adrienne Rich, “Snapshots of a Daughter-in-Law” (1963) [Norton p. 1382], “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” (1971) [Norton p. 1385], “Diving into the Wreck” (1973) [Norton p. 1386]. Student Expert.. In preparation for today’s class, I encourage you to also read the poems that we had to move because of the snow day on March 3: Sylvia Plath, “Morning Song” (1966) [Norton p. 1418], “Lady Lazarus” (1966) [Norton p. 1418], “Daddy” (1966) [Norton p. 1421]. The bulk of the discussion, however, will focus on Rich.

Friday, March 28: John Ashbery, “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror” (1975) [Collab]. Student Expert.

Monday, March 31: Class canceled.


Wednesday, April 2: Maxine Hong Kingston, “No Name Woman” (1976) [Norton p. 1507]. Student Expert.

Friday, April 4: Rita Dove, “Adolescence—I” (1980) [Norton p. 1583], “Adolescence—II” (1980) [Norton p. 1583], “Parsley” (1983) [Norton p. 1583]. Student Expert.

Monday, April 7: Toni Morrison, “Recitatif” (1983) [Norton p. 1403].  Student Expert.

Wednesday, April 9: Thomas Pynchon, “Entropy” (1960) [Norton p. 1484]. Student Expert.

Friday, April 11: David Foster Wallace, “Girl With Curious Hair” (1989) [Collab]

Monday, April 14: Junot Díaz, “Drown” (1996) [Norton p. 1666]. Student Expert.

Wednesday, April 16: Sherman Alexie, “At Navajo Monument Valley Tribal School” (1992) [Norton p. 1646], “Pawn Shop” (1992) [Norton p. 1647], “Crow Testament” (2000) [Norton p. 1647]

Friday, April 18:Kenneth Goldsmith, from Soliloquy (2001) [Collab]

Monday, April 21: Lydia Davis, from Samuel Johnson is Indignant: “Companion,” “Blind Date,” “Examples of Remember,” “Old Mother and the Grouch,” “Samuel Johnson is Indignant:,” “New Year’s Resolution,” “First Grade: Handwriting Practice,” “Interesting,” “Happiest Moment” (2002) [Collab]

Wednesday,  April 23: Ara Shirinyan, from Your Country is Great (2008) [Collab]

Friday, April 25: George Saunders, “The Semplica-Girl Diaries” (2012) [Online]. Student Expert.

Monday, April 28: William Shakespeare, Sonnets 3 [Online], 13 [Online], 44 [Online], 129 [Online]; K. Silem Mohammad, some “Sonnagrams” (2012) [Online]