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The PhD Oral Examination in

Lyric Poetry

PhD students taking the genre examination in Lyric Poetry will prepare all the titles from the following three lists of "Required Books," "Required Poems," and "Secondary Readings."

Beyond this core of readings, each student will submit for approval a substantial list of additional titles. The poems on this list may come from anywhere in the history of poetry written in English, the secondary readings from anywhere in the history of criticism devoted to lyric poetry. In addition to six secondary works, the total quantity of reading prepared for the examination should be roughly forty primary books.

Two weeks before the examination date, each student will submit to the designated examiner a short list of a dozen poems, which will be studied with special care and on which detailed questions may be expected. Half the poems on this short list should be drawn from the required core readings.

Required Books

  1. Harley MS. 2253 (English selections)
  2. Tottel's Miscellany (1557), selections by Wyatt and Surrey
  3. Donne, Songs and Sonnets (1633)
  4. Herbert, The Temple ("The Church" sequence) (1633)
  5. Blake, Songs of Innocence and of Experience (1795)
  6. Wordsworth/Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads (1798)
  7. R. Browning, Dramatic Lyrics (1842)
  8. Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855)
  9. Dickinson, Fascicle 34 (specified under "Required Poems" below), or another fascicle chosen by the student
  10. Eliot, The Waste Land (1922)
  11. Williams, Spring and All (1923)
  12. Yeats, The Tower (1928)

Required Poems

  1. "The Seafarer"
  2. "Caedmon's Hymn"
  3. "Now goth sonne under wode"; "Lullay lullay litel child"; "I sing of a mayden"; "The Corpus Christi Carol"; Mayden in the mor lay"
  4. "Sir Patrick Spens"; "The Three Ravens"
  5. Edmund Spenser: from The Shepheardes Calender (1579): "October"
  6. "Epithalamion"
  7. Sir Philip Sidney: from Astrophel and Stella (1591): Sonnets 1, 31, 71
  8. William Shakespeare: from the Sonnets (1609): Sonnets 20, 29, 55, 73, 94, 146
  9. Ben Jonson
  10. John Milton
  11. Robert Herrick: from Hesperides (1648): "Corinna's Going A-Maying"
  12. Andrew Marvell: from Miscellaneous Poems (1681): "To His Coy Mistress"; "The Garden"; "An Horatian Ode"
  13. John Dryden: "A Song for St. Cecilia's Day"
  14. John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester: "Upon Nothing"; "The Disabled Debauchee"
  15. William Collins: "Ode to Evening"
  16. Thomas Percy: from Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (1765) [see Middle English Ballads above: "Sir Patrick Spens"; "Edward"]: "The Ancient Ballad of Chevy-Chase"; "Child Waters"
  17. Thomas Gray: "Elegy Written in a Country Church-yard"
  18. Robert Burns: from Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (1786, 1787): "To a Louse"; "Green Grow the Rashes"
  19. William Wordsworth
  20. S. T. Coleridge: "Frost at Midnight"; "Kubla Khan"
  21. P. B. Shelley: "Mont Blanc"; "Ode to the West Wind"; "Adonais"
  22. John Keats: from Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820): "Ode to a Nightingale"; "Ode on a Grecian Urn"; "To Autumn"
  23. E. A. Poe: "The Raven"
  24. Alfred Tennyson
  25. Walt Whitman: "When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd"
  26. Matthew Arnold: "Dover Beach"
  27. D. G. Rossetti: from The House of Life (1870): Sonnets 49-52
  28. Emily Dickinson: Fascicle 34 (contains, in sequence, the following poems in Johnson: 645, 646, 647, 649, 650, 651, 648, 478, 754, 710, 755, 756, 690, 757, 758, 711, 993, 675); 303; 712; 1732
  29. A. C. Swinburne: "The Garden of Proserpine"
  30. G. M. Hopkins: "Heaven-Haven"; "The Windhover"
  31. Thomas Hardy: "The Darkling Thrush"; "During Wind and Rain"
  32. W. B. Yeats: "The Second Coming"; "Lapis Lazuli"
  33. Wallace Stevens: from Harmonium (1923): "Sunday Morning"; "The Snow Man"
  34. Ezra Pound: "In a Station of the Metro"; Canto 1
  35. T. S. Eliot: "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
  36. W. H. Auden: from Another Time (1940): "Musée des Beaux Arts"; "In Memory of W. B. Yeats"

Secondary Readings

  1. Paul Fussell: Poetic Meter and Poetic Form (1965)
  2. John Hollander: Rhyme's Reason (1981)