ENG106 202103 Undergraduate

Spring 2022
ENG 106
Applies To: 
Course Description: 

Works representing the principal literary genres.

Introduction to Literature: Poetry

Christopher Roethle

Christopher Roethle profile picture
  • Title: English Graduate Student / GE
  • Phone: 541-346-3924
  • Office: 213 PLC
Department Section Description: 

Introduction to Comics Poetry

It may seem strange to think of comics and poetry in connection with one another. Yet comics, in their way, have always been an intensely poetic medium even when no outright poetry has been involved. The increasing number of scholarly papers and web articles on the subject confirm the appeal of this comparison -- as does the growing field of contemporary American “comics poetry,” which despite some print anthologies and an occasional presence in journals is developing largely in the micro-press world and alongside other forms of webcomics.

This class will explore the basis for the comparison of comics to poetry and will attempt to demonstrate the usefulness of poetry and poetic theory as a way to understand the formal considerations that make even mainstream American superhero comics tick. In the second half of the class, we will turn our attention to the hybridization of these forms in work ranging from William Blake’s engravings, to the haiga of Yosa Buson, to the collaborations of New York School poets with Joe Brainard in the 1960s. We will then consider the contemporary comics poetry of artists such as Bianca Stone, Paul K. Tunis, Alexander Rothman, Warren Craghead, Matt Madden, Derik Badman, Andrea Tsurumi, Mita Mihato, and more. In discussing these artists, we will make a case for our comparison as the beginning of a critical language uniquely suited to a form that blends verse and sequential art.

During the course, students will be introduced to current artistic and academic debates surrounding comics poetry. Special attention will be paid to Rachel Blau Duplessis's theory of "Segmentivity" and the terminology we use to talk about this hybrid form, as the difference between “Poetry Comics” and “Comics Poetry” can imply a great deal about what the person using that term values in the medium. At the end of the class, students will create their own comics poetry and explain its formal features in a short essay. (No special artistic talent required.)

Note: This course examines materials with adult themes and language.


A & L

Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.

Lower-Division Elective

Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience.  Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.

English Minor

English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts.  The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.

Comics Studies Minor

Comics Studies Minor courses present students with an international, historical, and critical perspective on the art of editorial cartoons, comic books, and graphic novels, and how these forms communicate, inform, and emotionally engage their audiences.  Students will be required to think outside of accustomed disciplinary boundaries, and to analyze and experiment with the interaction of both visual and linguistic systems of meaning.