Our final paper for WR 150: “Modern and Contemporary American Poetry” builds upon the analytical, argumentative, and research skills introduced in the first two papers. In order to enlarge the scope and complexity of their arguments, students are asked to conduct a more substantial exploration of multiple poems or a longer poem by any poet of their choosing. Similar to Papers 1 and 2, students must find their motivation for writing in the arguments of others; however, this time students are not provided any exhibit or argument sources for their consideration. Paper 3 required students to locate and engage with all source material independently. Beyond this, the paper has to be 2000-3000 words in length and use at least five sources (two of which had to be argument sources).

What is most remarkable about Carly Sitrin’s “Making Sense: Decoding Gertrude Stein” is that Gertrude Stein is routinely left off the syllabus because of her incredible difficulty, not only for a “general education” audience, but also for the most ardent lovers and scholars of modern poetry. In addition, Carly’s essay demonstrates exemplary command over source material (clear and nuanced comprehension) and control (where and when to deploy sources in service of audience and argument), and, in particular, strong use of theory sources, which in our course are perhaps the most challenging sources to understand and utilize.


WR 150: Modern and Contemporary American Poetry