Taking a poetry class was a great way to round out my course load and develop my reading and writing skills. This course got me thinking about literature and language in a way that I really hadn’t done before. In my high school classes we touched upon poetry, but we never explored poetry in a very in-depth way. While we did talk about rhyme scheme, the farthest we ever got in regards to meter was iambic pentameter, and we never really talked about poetic forms. This class was a good introduction to some of the most important and prevalent poetic forms, as well as the literary techniques involved in poetry. The papers that we had to write for this class definitely helped me develop as a writer because they forced me to think about and analyze language in a way that I don’t normally do. The pastoral paper was especially challenging for me. I found it difficult to synthesize an argument about the pastoral since my understanding of that form was, and still is, somewhat shaky. I had fun leading the class and talking about Dr. Seuss since it was a way to think about poetry that is considerably more accessible than the usual class material while still retaining many of the same core ideas in terms of poetic structure and techniques. Unfortunately, my delivery of the information wasn’t great due to a combination of disorganization, nerves, and a lack of rehearsal. I think I owed the class a better presentation than what I actually did. That being said, I still got quite a bit out of doing the presentation and learned some valuable lessons in terms of organization and public speaking.
This class has given me a better sense of confidence in terms of reading language that may not immediately be clear. Hopefully figurative language will seem more obvious in the future thanks to all of the metaphors and other figurative language that we have been exposed to over the course of the semester. I think this will serve me well in the future in both formal academic settings and pleasure reading.
Perhaps my favorite part about this course was the fact that it included such a broad range of poetic forms. The diversity of poetic forms was something that I hadn’t really appreciated or comprehended before taking this class. Learning about some of the more “abnormal” forms of poetry was a highlight for me. I especially liked some of the 20th century forms. Bennett’s presentation on Flarf was really cool and showed how poetry can be really fun in a goofy sort of way. I also really appreciated all three presentations on rap music. There is definitely something to be said for the fact that perhaps the most popular form of music right now is so heavily rooted in poetry (at least in a more obvious way than other forms of music where the poetic aspect of lyrics are often overshadowed by the lyrics’ melodic value). The presentations about rap music have also inspired me to listen to rap with a higher degree of focus on what the language is trying to accomplish and the techniques that the artists use.