Modern British & American Poetry

May 2009

He had the students lead the entire class. Everyone in the room had to take a turn leading class discussion on a poet of their choice in one of three eras (modern, postwar, contemporary). This was the only class I did not dread attending by the end of the semester. I got to go in, interact with hot (and not-so-hot) Barnard girls, and say whatever I thought about the material at hand. It was so relaxing. I don't think I learned a ton about what makes poetry "modern," though. The theoretical part of the class really fell through since most of the students were amateurs. That being said, I had absolutely zero exposure to poetry before this class and would likely have for the rest of my life had I not heard about this class and its ultra-easy grading rubric, which is explained below. So kudos to him for making poetry accessible in what would otherwise be an extremely oppressive environment for a former Marine.

Apr 2003

Great class. Prof. Sharpe is brilliant, head of the department, and clearly knows everything there is to know about poetry. He's fascinating, rolling off quotations and anecdotes in the "One time Dylan Thomas said in a bar..." This is a seminar, though, not a lecture, and it's always overcrowded making discussion occasionally painful. My only complaint? I wish Sharpe would lecture more. He seems to know everything, and while I appreciate that he wants to know what we think (he really does), I'm fascinated by the insight he provides every so occasionally.