Overview: The poetry of Marianne Moore is considered alongside its preoccupations with gender, American culture, and nature. The poem "A Grave" is presented as characteristic of the prose rhythms and discursive manner of Moore's poems, including their use of expository language without meter or rhyme. The poem "England" is read as a defense of American culture, in opposition to the Eurocentricism of Eliot, Pound, and other modernists. In the poem "An Octopus," Moore makes use of excerpts from pamphlets and other unusual prose sources to suggest that inspiration is not limited to any one voice or to literary models.
This course covers the body of modern poetry, its characteristic techniques, concerns, and major practitioners. The authors discussed range from Yeats, Eliot, and Pound, to Stevens, Moore, Bishop, and Frost with additional lectures on the poetry of World War One, Imagism, and the Harlem Renaissance. Diverse methods of literary criticism are employed, such as historical, biographical, and gender criticism.