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ENGLISH 1A03 Lit. in English:Shorter Genre (C01)

Academic Year: Fall 2018

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Jeffery Donaldson


Office: Chester New Hall 308

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24132


Office Hours: Tuesdays & Wednesdays 10:30 am

Course Objectives:

General Rubric

The old adage about tiny hors-d’oeuvres (“take three, they’re small!”) applies to this three-unit course in poetry and short fiction.  The brevity of the works assigned will provide students with an opportunity to explore literary particulars, using patient, jeweller’s-eye analyses of textual details, while honing their critical reading and writing skills.  This is a course about slow reading, the practice of sitting patiently with small samplings of language and learning how to work with its details that you may return to your discipline of choice with the glass ceiling of “your language facility” raised to the heavens.  A great deal of attention will be paid to these skills in the two major essays for the course.  The other nice thing about shorter genres:  you have a chance to read each work over and over … and over. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


English 1A03 Course pack

The Broadview Anthology of Short Fiction, Second Edition, Broadview Press

The Essential John Reibetanz, Porcupine’s Quill

All first-year sections

First-Year English & Cultural Studies Handbook 2010-2011, optional


Method of Assessment:



Essay 1 (Oct 5, 4 pages)                      20%

Essay 2 (Nov 16, 6 pages)                   25%

Poetry Quiz                                           5%

Short Fiction Quizzes 5 x 1%                5%

MLA Citation Bonus Quiz                      2%

Exam Question Assignment (Nov 23)  5%

Tutorial                                                 10%

Exam                                                    30%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:


Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:


Week 1            Sept 5



Week 2            Sept 11

                        What we talk about when we talk about poems                                            

Craig Raine, “Arsehole”

Hughes, “The Tractor,”

Strand “The Whole Story,” “The Tunnel”

            Larkin, “This be the verse”


                        Sept 12

Charm and Riddle

Brooks, “We Real Cool”

Herbert, “Prayer I”

                                    Ammons, “City Limits”




Week 3            Sept 18

                        Sound and Rhythm

Williams, "The Dance”

Carroll, "Jabberwocky"

Moore, “No Swan So Fine”

Reibetanz, “The Hammer”

Wilbur, “A Barred Owl”

Coleridge, “Metrical Feet”                            


                        Sept 19

                        Words in Relation

Hopkins, "God's Grandeur”

Merrill, “Water Boiling”

Reibetanz, “Speech Therapy”

Merrill, “body”

                                    Herbert, “Iesu”



Week 4            Sept 25
                        Figurative Language

Wilbur “Mind”

Burns, “A red red rose”

Simic, “Fork”

Pound, “In a Station of the Metro”

Williams, “The Red Wheelbarrow”


                        Sept 26

                        Figurative Language

Reibetanz, “The Vineyard”

Symmons-Roberts, “Pelt”

MacLeish, “Ars Poetica”

Heaney, “The Tollund Man,” “The Rite of Spring”


Week 5            Oct 2


Arnold, "Dover Beach”

Williams, “This is just to say”

Shelley, “Ozymandias”


                        Oct 3  

What we talk about when we talk about poems

                                    Reibetanz, “She Goes Like”

                                    Reibetanz, “Lincoln Logs”







Mid-term Recess Oct 8 – 14


Week 6            Oct 16

                        MLA Citation Bonus Quiz (6:30 pm Oct 3 – 5:30 pm Oct 5)

                        Poetry essay due in lecture


                        Oct 17

                        Structure & Form                   

                                    Roethke, “The Waking”

                                    Kate Cayley, “Considering Photographs”

                                    Bishop, “One Art”

Herbert, “Easter Wings”

            Bishop, “Sestina”


Week 7            Oct 23

Sonnet and Genre Conventions

Spenser, Sonnet 75

Shakespeare, "My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun”

Donne, Holy Sonnet 14 ("Batter my heart ...")

Millay, “I, being born a woman, and distressed,”

“Only until this cigarette is ended”

            Cummings, “Perhaps it is to feel strike”


                        Oct 24

                        Poetry quiz (9:30 am Oct 22 – 9:30 am Oct 24)      

Dramatic Monologue

            “My Last Duchess”


Week 8            Oct 30

                        Short Fiction Introduction

                        Quiz on Chopin & Gilman (5:30 pm Oct 29 – 5:30 pm Oct 31)    

            Chopin, "The Story of an Hour"


                        Oct 31

            Gilman, “The Yellow Wallpaper”


Week 9            Nov 6

Quiz on Cayley & King (9:30 am Nov 4 – 9:30 am Nov 6)

Cayley, “The Fetch”


                        Nov 7

King, “The One About Coyote Going West” (Course pack)



Week 10          Nov 13

                        Quiz on Mansfield & Baldwin (9:30 am Nov 11 – 9:30 am Nov 13)         

            Mansfield, “A Doll’s House”


                        Nov 14

                                    Baldwin, “Sonny’s Blues


Week 11          Nov 20

Quiz on Carver & Salter (9:30 am Nov 18 – 9:30 am Nov 20)

Carver, "Cathedral"    


                        Nov 21

                        Short Fiction essay due in lecture

Salter, “Last Night” (Course pack)                


Week 12          Nov 27

                        Quiz on Bird-Wilson & Robinson (9:30 am Nov 25 – 9:30 am Nov 27)

                        Bird-Wilson, “The Nirvana Principle” (Course pack)


                        Nov 28

Exam question assignment due in lecture

Robinson, “Queen of the North”


Week 13          Dec 4  

                        Quiz on O’Brien, & Munro (9:30 am Dec 2 – 9:30 am Dec 4)

                                    O’Brien, “The Things They Carried”


                        Dec 5  

            Munro, “Tricks” (Course pack)