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The Poetry Center at Smith College
Poetry Concentration

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Gateway Courses

The following gateway courses are required for the Poetry Concetration. Concentrators should begin with ENG 112; PYX 140 is limited to 15 with priority given to declared concentrators.

Consult the Smith College Course Catalog for locations, times and more information.

ENG 112 Reading Contemporary Poetry

(2 credit, S/U only)
This course offers the exciting opportunity to read contemporary poetry and to meet the poets who write it. We read and discuss the work of six to eight contemporary poets who visit Smith as part of the Poetry Center reading series; we bring our thoughts and quandaries to the intimate afternoon Q & A sessions with the poets; and we attend their public readings.

There are no prerequisites for this class, which accommodates a range of students, from those with very minimal experience reading poems to those who are dedicated scholars and writers of poetry. The emphasis is on process and reflection, rather than on analysis and formal argumentation. We're not so much about unlocking "the meaning" as simply engaging each poem on as many levels as possible. We trace our way through the experience of reading a poem, asking questions such as: What's your immediate hit on this voice? What do you notice about how the words are set on the page? How does the poem itself direct your experience of reading it, i.e. how do particular elements work on you as you read and reread? At what point are you most strongly engaged? Which words or phrases seem most pivotal in understanding the poem's intention(s)? We also reflect on the experience of seeing the poet read and/or talk about his/her work—the ways in which this may color or change our response to it.

PYX 140 The Art and Business of Poetry

Offered January 2016

(1 credit, S/U only)
An intensive, week-long gateway course required of all concentrators. PYX 140 is offered during interterm, and enables students to sample the various focus areas within the concentration: translation, book arts, teaching, and poetry reviewing and blogging. The course meets 3 hours each day. Enrollment limited to 15 with priority to declared concentrators.