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Chapter Reading 3

ENGLISH 298 Chapter Notes - Chapter Reading 3: Cream Cheese, Omnipotence, Synecdoche


Department
English Language And Literature
Course Code
ENGLISH 298
Professor
Walter Cohen
Chapter
Reading 3

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10-1-15:
Black Poets
3; Culler 70-82
This just in! There will be bagels, cream cheese, and coee in class on
Thursday. If you’re interested, adjust your eating plans accordingly.
Black Poets
1) Hughes's poem--his most famous, I believe--is obviously not a sonnet or even
distantly related to the sonnet form. How does this a+ect the way you go about
interpreting it? What tradition might it be related to? How do you understand it?
2) Cullen, "From the Dark Tower." Cullen is the other leading sonneteer (with
McKay) of the Harlem Renaissance. How do this poem and the next compare to
McKay's? What's the rhyme scheme here? What di+erence does that make?
What is this poem about? Is it about race? Why or why not? How do the
encampments work? What are the central images, and how do they function?
3) Cullen, "Yet do I marvel.". What's the rhyme scheme here? Again, so what? This
poem is about the question of theodicy--why God allows things to be as they are
(often really bad) if he's omniscient, omnipotent, and good. In that light what's
the force of the concluding couplet? Why this particular choice of images?
4) Tolson, "A Legend of Versailles." This is about the Versailles peace conference
following the allied victory over Germany in World War I. We've seen a tiger
before, but this one seems di+erent. Who is he? What's the point of the poem?
Try to make the meter scan. You'll see that you have di>culties. Why? What's
the e+ect?
Culler, 70-82:
1) Culler emphasizes four rhetorical @gures: metaphor, metonymy, irony, and
synecdoche (referring to the part to represent the whole). Look back at the
three poems for today (or others we’ve read). Which of these @gures seems
useful for analysis of lyric so far (none, some, all)? (71-3)
2) What is the position of lyric among literary genres—where genres simply
mean forms or kinds? What implications does that position have? (73-4)
3) When we think of sonnets as speech acts, what kind of speaker do you
imaginatively reconstruct? Is that speaker Shakespeare or the real African
American writer in
Black Poets
? (74-6)
4) To what extent are sonnets babble? Doodle? (79-80)
5) To what extent are the poems we’ve read so far about their own creation,
about poetry? Implicitly? Explicitly?
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