From Edmund Spenser to Seamus Heaney the sonnet has attracted the attention of great poets, adopting and adapting its form to express complex ideas in a very restrictive form. What explains the sonnet’s enduring appeal to poets and readers alike? Although seemingly limiting, its 14 lines and familiar rhyme schemes challenge poets to innovate and expand its boundaries. We will read poems by Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Keats, Barrett Browning, Rossetti, Yeats, and Heaney, appreciating how these poets take the form and make it their own. The poems will be available in a printed leaflet, to be distributed to the class. Class Limit: 20
Instructor John Ward taught courses in literature at the University of Virginia, Kenyon College and Centre College over 40 years. Since retiring to Maine in 2006, he has taught many senior college courses, some them covering topics that were not part of his professional portfolio. Discovering or recovering great works by American and British authors in the company of senior colleagues has meant that, in fact, he has yet to retire.
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