30:369 English Canadian Poetry

Fall 2005

Dr. Reinhold Kramer
109 Original Building/Clark Hall
727-7344 kramer@brandonu.ca
Office hours: 2:40-3:30 p.m. (Mon., Wed., Thur.)

Course Description:
A study of the development of Canadian poetry from early colonial days to the present, with an emphasis on the twentieth century. Poets to be considered may include Roberts, Carman, Lampman, D.C. Scott, Pratt, F.R. Scott, Smith, Birney, Klein, MacPherson, Nowlan, Cohen, Atwood, McFadden, Coles, Krause, Di Cicco, and Klassen.

1. Class Participation                                     10%
2. In-class Essay/Test      18 Oct.                   20%
3. Term Paper (10-12 pages)      17 Nov.       20%
4. Final Exam      9 Dec. 9-11 a.m.                  50%

Note: There may be penalties for lateness, depending upon circumstances. Reading tests cannot be postponed, and missed tests cannot be rewritten without a doctor’s note or other documentation. Cite all your sources – assignments containing plagiarism will be graded “0” and will result in disciplinary action. See BU General Calendar 4.2.2 “Academic Integrity.” No cell phones in class.

For the very shy: in place of “class participation” you may hand in, 5 times during the course, short (1 page, double-spaced, typed) commentaries, not paraphrases, on the poems (not just one poem) under discussion that day. The commentaries, worth 2% each, must be handed in before the class discussion. No commentaries will be accepted after class discussions for any reason.

It’s possible that a student may find readings and/or discussions of controversial matters troubling. If so, please contact the instructor immediately for alternative assignments or an alternative course.


Outstanding    A+  90 & up                A    84-89        A-   80-83       

Good               B+ 77-79                     B   74-76         B-  70-73                    

Satisfactory     C+ 67-69                     C   64-66         C-  60-63                    

Weak               D+ 57-59                     D   54-56         D-  50-53        

Inadequate      F 0-49

Atwood, Margaret. Selected Poems 1966-1984
Cohen, Leonard. Stranger Music: Selected Poems and Songs
Coles, Don. Kurgan (2000)
Gerson, Carole ed. Canadian Poetry: From the Beginnings Through the First World War
Klassen, Sarah. Simone Weil: Songs of Hunger and Love (1999)
Lynes, Jeannette. Left Fields (2003)
Norman, Colin. Writing Essays: A Short Guide. 2nd ed. Queen’s. (optional)
Nowlan, Alden. Selected Poems
Wilson, Milton ed. Poets Between the Wars


Canadian Romantics: The Confederation Poets
Sept. 13      Roberts, “The Mowing,” “Tantramar Revisited,” “The Iceberg,” “As Down the Woodland Ways”

15      Carman, “A Sea Child,” “A Windflower,” “Low Tide on Grand Pré,” “The Eavesdropper”

20      Lampman, “Evening,” “In November” 256, “The City at the End of Things”

22      D.C. Scott, “Watkwenies,” “Night Hymns on Lake Nipigon,” “At Gull Lake: August, 1810”

27      Pickthall, “Persephone Returning to Hades,” “A Mother in Egypt,” “Inheritance, “The Wife,” “Père Lalemant”

Sept. 29, Oct. 4      F.R. Scott, “Overture,” “Ode to a Politician,” “Laurentian Shield,” “Lakeshore,” “Mount Royal,” “The Bartail Cock”

Oct. 6      A.J.M Smith, “The Sorcerer,” “A Hyacinth for Edith,” “Prothalamium,” “On Knowing Nothing,” “To Henry Vaughan”

11, 13      Klein, “Out of the Pulver and the Polished Lens,” “Portrait of the Poet as Landscape”

18      In-class Essay/Test

1960s-80s: The Vernacular & Beyond
Oct. 20, 25      Nowlan, “All Down the Morning” 4, “God Sour the Milk the Knacking Wench” 10, “The Bull Moose” 28, “The Drunken Poet” 34, “And He Wept Aloud, So That the Egyptians Heard It” 40, “Britain Street” 43, “Why He Wanted to Abolish Capital Punishment” 71, “Fair Warning” 74, “Written While Waiting for Another Chest X-Ray” 83, “What Colour is Manitoba?” 120, “It’s Good to Be Here” 124, “Legacy” 140, “He Sits Down on the Floor of a School for the Retarded” 151, “The Fat Man’s Poem” 172

Oct. 27, Nov. 1      Cohen, “Song for Abraham Klein” 25, “The Cuckold’s Song” 33, “For E.J.P.” 80, “The Stranger Song” 111, “Story of Isaac” 139, “Seems So Long Ago, Nancy” 143, “Bird on a Wire” 144, “Famous Blue Raincoat” 153, “Who by Fire?” 207, “The Café” & Commentary 222, “This Marriage” & Commentaries 235, “It’s Probably Spring” & Commentary 238, “The Asthmatic” & Commentary 242, “Roshi” 275, “How to Speak Poetry” & Commentary 287, “I Stopped to Listen” 313, “When I Left the King” 314, “I Heard My Soul Singing” 315, “I Draw Aside the Curtain” 320, “Holy is Your Name” 331, “All My Life” 333, “Hallelujah” 347, “Take This Waltz” 353, “The Tower of Song” 363, “The Future” 370, “Closing Time” 378, “When Even The” 388

Nov. 3, 8      Atwood, “The Animals in That Country” 40, “Backdrop Addresses Cowboy” 56, “The immigrants” 73, “A bus along St. Clair: December” 90, “Woman skating” 105, “My beautiful wooden leader” 116, “They are the hostile nations” 128, “Pig song” 152, “Song of the worms” 156, “The woman who could not live with her
faulty heart” 203, “Marrying the Hangman” 216, “You begin” 248, “The arrest of the stockbroker” 257, “Variations on the word love” 269, “The white snake” 284, “Quattrocento” 286, “A Sunday Drive” 298, “Orpheus (1)” 300, “Heart test with an
echo chamber” 310

Nov. 10      No class

Recent Poetry
Nov. 15, 17      Klassen, “Hunger II,” “Making the rate (factory journals),” “Pilgrims of the absolute,” “Credo,” “Jew,” “Pensées” (51), “Letters to Antonio, 1940,” “Exile,” “Memos to a government in exile,” “Colour,” “Love song,” “Grief,” “Room,” “Dirge”

Nov. 17      Term paper due

Nov. 22, 24      Coles, “On a Caspar David Friedrich Painting,” Kurgan No.10,” “These Photos of the Children,” “Gone Out Is Part of Sanity,” “Knights of the Round Table,” “Romance,” “Nurseryschoolers,” “Lonelyhearts,” “Tolstoy Poems,” “A View from the Side”

Nov. 29, Dec.1      Lynes, “Career Day at Diefenbaker High,” “The girls next door,” “Mother Teaching her daughter to skate a long time ago,” “Moose whistles,” “This can’t possibly be my life,” “The new stories,” “Current,” “Water lilies,” “Six smaller landscapes, after A.M. Klein’s ‘Portrait of the Poet as Landscape,’” “The sign on my door,” “Abacus
abalone abandon”

Dec. 6 Review

Dec. 9 Final Exam 9-11 a.m.