Sunday, November 25, 2007

Book List for 302A

So, I think I have my booklist for my spring English 302A, Poets Since 1960, lit class figured out. Happily, I have a dissertation fellowship, so this is my only class--and what a fun one to have. I don't want to make it a habit of talking about my teaching on here since I know I already have students reading my blog, but this seems safe. Plus, I always marvel at books other teachers pick and think "why did they pick THAT" or "I do NOT get how those books work together at all." Then I either think less of them or better (no middle ground). At least I recognize that I'm judgmental.

The anthology:
Contemporary American Poetry, 8th edition, eds Poulin and Waters
What I like about this book of poets from the last 50 years is that they select several poems for each writer, have a pic, then also have a short critical review of their work in the back. What I don't like is they have included some B-list poets and exclude obvious A-listers, like Anthony Hechte. Anthologies are a dime a dozen and none will ever be perfect. That's why I own like 30.

Individual poetry collections:
Yusef Komunyakaa -- Dien Cai Dau
Rafael Campo -- What the Body Told
Lousie Gluck -- The Wild Iris
W.S. Merwin -- The River Sound
Sherman Alexie -- The Summer of Black Widows

--Komunyakaa's collection is one of the best, if not the best, of poetry on the Vietnam War.
--Campo exhibits how a double minority--gay and cuban--uses received forms to subvert and then trump the poetic "tradition."
--Gluck's poems are lush, imagistic, and I always have loved how she so intensely personifies flowers, seasons, et cetera without getting sentimental.
--Merwin because of his environmental tilt while showing that sometimes no punctuation heightens the lyric without sacrificing syntax. And I've always wanted to see if I could get away with teaching him.
--Alexie because he accurately captures Native Americans in a post post modern America--with a healthy and appropriate dose of humor, sarcasm, and irony.

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