The Poetics Option

The MAPH Option in Poetics is intended for students who are primarily interested in the critical study of poetry and poetics.  Offered in cooperation with the university’s Program in Poetry and Poetics, this option facilitates a critical engagement with the poetry of numerous historical periods, geographical regions, and aesthetic traditions, including modern and contemporary English-language poetry.  

Students enrolled in this option are required to take the MAPH Core course in the winter quarter, the Poetics seminar, and three courses on the study of poetry and poetics from any number of departments and committees across the Humanities Division.  (Relevant courses in the Social Sciences Division may also count toward these requirements).  Of these three courses, one must be on pre-Romantic poetry, one on non-Anglophone poetry (which can be studied in English translation), and one on modern and/or contemporary poetry.  Students will consult with their MAPH preceptors and advisors on how to fulfill these distribution requirements, and may petition to substitute other courses for these requirements under special circumstances.  Additionally, students in the MAPH Poetics Option will write a thesis with a relation to poetry and poetics under the supervision of a faculty member in the Poetics Program.

Further opportunities for students in the Poetics Option may include internships at The Chicago Review—the university’s graduate student-run literary journal—and participation in the Poetics Workshop, a bi-weekly colloquium for the peer review of student and faculty work.  Students in the option also benefit from frequent visits to campus by nationally-recognized poets through the Poetics Program’s “Poem Present” reading series, and talks by distinguished visiting scholars through the “History and Forms of Lyric” lecture series. 

Students interested in this option are encouraged to visit the Poetry and Poetics website for more information about faculty and resources for the study of poetry at the university.

Student Profiles

Teddy Roland (MAPH’14)

Title: “The Thrill of Making Enemies”: Poetry Magazine and the Politics of Vers Libre

Description: My thesis began in periodical studies and ended in historical poetics. Drawing largely from Poetry magazine's editorial records held at the Regenstein Library, I recovered a literary and political discourse during the 1910s that compels rereading of free verse poems and prosody from that period. In particular, I examined the ways in which the prosody of Carl Sandburg’s “Chicago” became charged simultaneously with radical politics and market forces.