Friday, February 17, 2012

Contemporary Literature Syllabus

Catalog ID: LA496 Section: 01 Course Name: Contemporary Literature
Course Prerequisite: LA190 / Lecture or LA190 / e-Learning
Term: Autumn Meeting Day(s): Tuesday, Thursday Meeting Time(s): 2-3:20 p.m.
Class Location: KH208 Faculty Name: Sophia Kartsonis
Class Blog:
Department: Liberal Arts Division: English Email:

Office Hours: T 9-11, H 10-11, Office Location: Kinney Hall
Course Description:
Involves the critical study of recent literature emphasizing characteristic forms and themes. Attention is given to the short story, novel, poetry, drama and experimental prose forms. The course will involve a combination of written assignments, discussions, traditional essays and quizzes, as well as creative responses to works of various contemporary poets and writers. Texts and emphases will vary with professor. 3 credits, meets for a total of 3 hours.
Course Goal: Learning to read, discuss and analyze contemporary works of literature.

Course Learning Outcomes: Students will examine literature from both a reader’s and writer’s perspective. Through a variety of presentations, group work, verbal and written responses, students will familiarize themselves with the themes that good writing illuminates, as well as learn how the ability to critique a piece of writing can hone critical thinking skills in the world outside the book.

CCAD Learning Goals:
Through the careful reading and analysis of poetry, drama, and varieties of prose, the course is designed to help students connect words and images into thoughtful responses and help them to master the art of reading texts and real-life situations with care.
Required Course Materials:
Required Text(s):
The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction (You can bargain-shop, go used, etc. but be sure you get this edition so that we can all have the same material from which to refer.)
All links and handouts provided in class or through the blog.

What: LA496-02 Contemporary Literature
When: Tuesdays & Thursdays 12:30-1:50
Where: KH 224
Who: Sophia Kartsonis
Required Texts:

Week One 01/17-01/19
T: Introduction
The Thursday readings will be discussed in class. (You didn't have reading homework on Tuesday but will on Thursday night.)
H: Discussion Forche’s The Colonel and the Notion of Appropriation
Homework: Those Winter Sundays Robert Hayden
Elegy for Jane Theodore Roethke
September 1, 1939 W.H. Auden
Channel Firing Thomas Hardy
Homework: Read Everyday Use by Alice Walker.
T: Discussion poems
H: Continued discussion
WEEK THREE 01/30-02/02
T: Discussion Everyday Use
H: Voices & Visions Robert Frost
Homework: Read all poems (on right links) and the biography (center screen) on the following link.


Stories I mentioned in class to be read:
The first two in your anthology: the Russell Banks and Donald Barthleme, as well as Girl by Jamaica Kinkaid.

Thursday Discussion of stories you talked about in groups, as well as Girl and My Papa's Waltz by Theodore Roethke.

Homework: Next readings involve formal poetry and your formal poem imitation assignment due Tuesday 02/28.
For the reading, be sure to always begin with reading the description about the kind of poem it is. It's rather dry and technical reading but important that you try to understand the structure as we examine poems that are written in the same manner. (And as you will be imitating one of the forms in order to write your own poem.)


The Sonnet
Description and all of the poems to the left.

The Villanelle
Dylan Thomas: Do Not Go Gentle into that Good Night
Elizabeth Bishop: One Art
Peter Cole: Improvisation...
(All of the poem links are on the left of the page for the villanelle on

All the poems on the left of the description of the sestina plus
Elizabeth Bishop's Sestina.

Week of O2/25-02/28

T: Discussion of Formal Verse
H: Continued discussion

Week of 03/06-03/08

T: Formal poems due

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