This class was concerned with matters of prosody and poetic form, and content, and was focused around concepts essential to discussing poetry as it exists materially and in time: revision, publication,transcription, collection, contextualization, and curation. The first half of the course provided a strong foundation in pre-modern canonical poetry (with an emphasis on English poems) while also integrating lessons on literary history (especially history of the book and early print), the use of electronic databases, and the composition of material and digital archives that afford unprecedented access to poems from the past.
The second half of the course used specific poetry archives, from Beowulf Online 4.0 and the Edwin Morgan Scrapbooks to The Emily Dickinson Archive and the Prison Poems of Etheridge Knight held by PennSound, as models for exploring and sharing the poetry in the archives of the Hofstra library's Special Collections. We examined the diverse forms that poetry takes in works owned and preserved by the university: poems in issues of avant-garde journals, small-press limited editions of political poetry, and the papers of the poet Stephen Dunn. In addition to writing response papers and conducting close readings of poetry, the class worked collaboratively to produce online exhibitions of special collections materials, learning tools such as Omeka and Scalar and using other forms of new media to showcase the Dunn papers and other archival materials at Hofstra.