Week 3

Welcome back. Discussion of video close-reading process. Written close readings (perhaps of the poem you spoke about) will be due next week.

A few minutes for Frost

  • orienting
  • overview, Frost as a modernist; form; rural ethos; orientation towards “American”
  • close read one or two poems

Ezra Pound

  • orientating questions
  • overview, Pound as modernist; make it new; movements (Imagism, Vorticism, et al); paradox of modernist disruption AND classical or comparative literature domain from which he draws; cultural context and complications: Europe/America, support for “Art” (patronage); Italy in WWII, Fascism, anti-semitism; Cantos and modernist epic.

Broader issues in reading Modernist poetry

  • close reading (origins in convention of judgement/evaluation, as much as interpretation/meaning); the scholastic shift; benefits and limitations; place of a close-reading in other (non-formalist) scholarship or teaching about poetry?
  • mobility - keeping in touch with detail and whole, form and content. Thinking about words in poems, but also poems in books; books re: authors; books / poems / authors re: movements and broader cultural issues, then and now.


  1. ) Written close reading essay. One poem. 1-3 sources. Quote the whole poem in sections. Attend to form and content, observing formal details but always attributing significance, meaning or pattern. A close reading of a poem which has some underlying unity necessarily includes some type of thesis/conclusion, and a meaningful title. Max 5 pages (1250 words)

2) Reading for next week prepares us to think about distant reading using text analysis tools. Our class will be in workshop format.

  • Hammond, Adam. from Literature in the Digital Age. External Link
  • Sinclair and Rockwell. Textual Analysis and Visualization: Making Meaning Count. External Link

Novices will be introduced to


Essays will be of good, general preparation. The tool also features some good documentation.

For the purposes of the class, experienced Voyant visualizers will work in a small group to learn and then give a class demonstration of Lexos.


About Lexos