Introduction to Poetry

I.     Course Prefix/Number: EGL 117

       Course Name: Introduction to Poetry

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Course introduces students to the study poetry and its cultural, social, and historical contexts. Content includes terminology and methods for analyzing and evaluating poetry including form, thematic development, and style.

IV.   Learning Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Explain the distinctive characteristics of poetry as a genre.
  2. Identify the conventions of poetic works such as: as lyric, epic, ballad, sonnet, elegy, free verse, and dramatic monologue, etc.
  3. Interpret the formal elements of these works using appropriate terminology, such as: speaker, metaphor, symbolism, irony, tone, meter, rhyme, simile, personification, etc.
  4. Analyze works in the context of their literary, cultural, and historical backgrounds.
  5. Synthesize knowledge of genre, formal elements, and background material.
  6. Incorporate secondary sources in the analysis and interpretation of poetry texts.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics

Poems, reflecting culturally diverse texts, may be organized according to a number of principles, including thematic, analytic, structural and historical modes. A thematic organization would group texts according to such common themes as innocence and experience; love; conformity and rebellion; death. An analytic organization would group units of study according to elements of poetry, studying in turn speaker, imagery, figures of speech, formal elements, etc. A historical organization would arrange texts chronologically. A structural organization would group poems according to some common formal elements: sonnets, odes, lyrics, etc.

VII.  Methods of Instruction

The course will be conducted through lectures, discussions and the use of other appropriate media, such as films, tapes and records, and possibly field trips to poetry readings.

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

Students will read poems from a variety of periods and styles and write at least four essays of at least 750 words each outside of class. Paper assignments should be guided by the course learning objectives.

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Check with the Chairperson for current list.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

  • Evaluation method include grading of student essays, quizzes and exams, and class discussion.
  • Required written work: A minimum of four critical essays of at least 750 words, each written outside of class.

XI.   Other Course Information

  • Attendance policy
  • For whatever information/procedures the instructor holds the student accountable.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.