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Second assessed essay

You are free to choose one of the following questions or devise your own question. Your essays should produce focused readings of specific poems. You are advised to discuss between two and six poems, depending on their length (and with the expectation that you will have read widely before choosing your focus poems). In exceptional circumstances, you may focus on one poem as long as you agree it with the tutor first. Do not flood your essay with lots of brief discussions of lots of poets and poems. In questions based on quotations by poets, you are not confined to the work of that poet in your answer.

1. In what ways do twentieth-century poets challenge the metrical 'laws' of nineteenth-century prosody?

2. Can poetry 'transmit' affect?

3. To what extent can poetic form enable e. e. cummings' 'lookiesoundiefeelietastiesmellie' reader?

4. 'Horrible day. More and more wretched. Crying' (Barthes, Mourning Diary, entry for November 11). Discuss.

5. For James Elkins, history is like a drug that 'kills' our experience of reading feeling into artworks. Do you agree?

6. To what extent does 'imagist' poetry displace a focus on the aural with an investment in the ocular?

7. Does Robert Frost's theorization of a 'sound' of 'sense' enable our reading of emotion in poetry?

8. 'In attachment blossoms fall' (Genjo Koan). Discuss.

9. Does the strongly intellectualized content of poems like those written by Prynne or Merwin disable its emotional impact?

10. Do neurological theories of emotion aid our reading of poetry?