Spring Semester 2016

I’m eager to begin another semester at the University of Pittsburgh. This spring I am teaching three classes: Seminar in Composition (ENGCMP 0200), Reading Poetry (ENGLIT 0315), and Introduction to Critical Reading (ENGLIT 0500). I have taught all three courses before and enjoy each one. Seminar in Composition is a newly redesigned course on the campus novel and the syllabus can be found on my Academia.edu page. I’d be happy to send along the syllabi for the other classes to interested parties, which tweak previous versions. (Among other texts, I’m eager to return to Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves [2000] in Introduction to Critical Reading, and quite excited to read Claudia Rankine’s Citizen [2014] in Reading Poetry). I have again decided not to do any class blogs this semester. For the blogs of previous classes, see the category “Teaching” to the right.

Spring Semester 2013

Beginning next Tuesday I will be teaching two courses at the University of Pittsburgh during the spring semester: Seminar in Composition (ENGCMP 0200, Pitt’s freshman English) and Reading Poetry (ENGLIT 0315). I am greatly looking forward to both classes as each should prove to be interesting, challenging, and fun. These courses reprise courses taught the previous semester.

In Seminar in Composition we’ll be reading selections from the following:

David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky eds., Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers, 9th ed. (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010).

William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White, The Elements of Style: With Revisions, an Introduction, and a Chapter on Writing, 4th ed. (New York: Longman, 2000).

David Foster Wallace,  A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1997).

And, among a number of other poems and poets, in Reading Poetry we’ll primarily be looking at:

John Ashbery,  Selected Poems (New York: Penguin, 1986).

Ben Lerner, The Lichtenberg Figures (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2004).

Robert Lowell, Life Studies and For the Union Dead (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007).

Harryette Mullen, Recylcopdeia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge (Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 2006).

T.S. Eliot, The Waste Land and Other Writings (New York: The Modern Library, 2001).

Walt Whitman, Song of Myself, ed. Susan Rattiner (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2001).

DFW Excerpt: “These are tense linguistic times”

My Freshman Composition course just wrapped up a lively discussion of DFW’s “Authority and American Usage” (originally published in Harper’s as “Tense Present”), and though I think I probably wanna do some different stuff w/ it next time . . . here’s a lovely excerpt:

The insecurities that drive [Politically Correct English], [Academic English], and vocab-tape ads are far from groundless, though. These are tense linguistic times. Blame it on Heisenbergian uncertainty or postmodern relativism or Image Over Substance or the ubiquity of advertising or PR or the rise of Identity Politics or whatever you will–we live in an era of terrible preoccupation with presentation and interpretation, one in which the relations between who someone is and what he believes and how he “expresses himself” [DFW’s fn.: (Notice the idiom’s syntax–it’s never “expresses his beliefs” or “expresses his ideas.”)] have been thrown into big-time flux. In rhetorical terms, certain long-held distinctions between the Ethical Appeal, Logical Appeal ( = an argument’s plausibility or soundness, from logos), and Pathetic Appeal ( = an argument’s emotional impact, from pathos) have now pretty much collapsed–or rather the different sorts of Appeals now affect and are affected by one another in ways that make it nearly impossible to advance an argument on “reason” alone. (David Foster Wallace, “Authority and American Usage,” in Consider the Lobster and Other Essays [New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2006], 116, my emphases.)

Fall 2012

Beginning on Monday (wow the summer stormed by) I will be teaching 2 courses at the University of Pittsburgh during the fall semester: Seminar in Composition (ENGCMP 0200, Pitt’s freshman English) and Reading Poetry (ENGLIT 0315). I am greatly looking forward to both classes as each should prove to be interesting, challenging, and fun. In Seminar in Composition we’ll be reading selections from the following:

David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky eds., Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers, 9th ed. (New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010).

William Strunk Jr. & E.B. White, The Elements of Style: With Revisions, an Introduction, and a Chapter on Writing, 4th ed. (New York: Longman, 2000).

David Foster Wallace,  A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments (New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1997).

 

And, among a number of other poems and poets, in Reading Poetry we’ll primarily be looking at:

John Ashbery,  Selected Poems (New York: Penguin, 1986).

Ben Lerner, The Lichtenberg Figures (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 2004).

Robert Lowell, Life Studies and For the Union Dead (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2007).

Harryette Mullen, Recylcopdeia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge (Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 2006).

T.S. Eliot The Wasteland (Norton Critical Edition), ed. Michael North (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2001).

Walt Whitman, Song of Myself and Other Poems, ed. Robert Haas and Paul Ebenkamp (Counterpoint: Berkeley, 2011).