Chris Tusa

English 2007 Ė Poetry Writing


Instructor:  Chris Tusa

Phone: 578-2236  

Office:  219 D  Allen Hall

Office Hours:11:30-12:30 MWF









CRW 1301 is a workshop-style course which emphasizes the writing and analysis of poetry. Students will focus on the writing of their own original works and on critically analyzing contemporary literature. At the end of the term, we will also engage in a brief study of current publishing trends in literary journals.


Poets achieve success by writing and rewriting; therefore, in this course, I will give you the opportunity to revise your poems throughout the semester. Because I feel that sharing your poems with others promotes good writing, mainly by allowing you to receive some feedback concerning your work, I will often ask you to share your work with other members  of the class. I also feel that analytical skills are critical to all poets. Because of this, I will ask each of you to do two explications.  Also, since I firmly believe that students benefit when they respond to poems in writing, I will ask you to submit a response paper after completing each reading. Because these four approaches operate effectively in the classroom, they form the basis of the course schedule outlined below.


I will ask you to complete one explication during the semester.

 Poetry Portfolio

I will ask you to write a total of seven poems this semester.  All of your poems will be kept in your portfolio (all writing assignments contained in the portfolio must be typed). At the end of the semester, you will submit your portfolio, which will contain revised versions of all the poems (each portfolio must contain work that I have seen in progress).  I favor the portfolio method of grading because it allows you to suspend my final evaluation of your progress until the end of the semester which, in turn, allows you to have your best work evaluated. 

 Collaborative Work

Many of the class periods will be devoted to peer evaluation (workshop).  This will give you the chance to see how other students have handled writing assignments, to practice editing skills by helping other students edit their work, and to draft poems.  During these periods, you will be asked to respond to another studentís poem in writing. It is my feeling that this will allow you to not only identify problems in someone elseís poetry but in your own poetry as well.

 Response Papers    I will ask you to complete four response papers throughout the term. These papers will detail your reactions to the readings. Each response paper should only be about a page in length (typed) but should, nevertheless, be an honest, formal reaction to the poem. These response papers will be used to generate class discussions concerning the reading.   


The website will function as your text. You will need one two-pocket folder. Your folder should be labeled with your name, course and section number.                                                           


Because this class is a workshop writing experience, attendance is crucial; therefore, excessive absences will have a considerable impact upon your final grade. Chronically late students will be warned once; after that, each late appearance will be counted as an absence.  If you miss a class, please come and see me so that you can make up any work that you missed. Please keep me informed if you must miss class for any length of time. Also, please do not assume that I have dropped you from the roll simply because you have missed class repeatedly.  Remember that it is your responsibility to drop this course, and failure to do so could result in an F instead of a W as a final grade.


Again, because this class is a workshop writing experience, participation is critical; therefore, a large portion of your grade will be based upon your participation in class, your response to the readings, and your evaluation of work done by peers. You are expected to show respect for diverse opinions during class discussion and in your essays, and you are expected to participate in class discussions in a responsible manner, presenting your opinions, while also permitting others to present their opinions.   


 Your final grade will be calculated in the following manner:                                      

               Workshop Participation                                                                        (100 pts)

              Writing Assignments                                                                              (220 pts)

                                   Response Papers (4 @ 5pts. each)           (20pts)                      

                                   Explication                                              (100 pts)

                                   Poetry Portfolio (7 poems)                     (100 pts)


                                            TOTAL                                                        320 pts.                                               


Late essays will be dropped one letter grade, and essays which are more than one week late will receive a zero.  All other late work will be given a zero. Please see me if you have extenuating circumstances. 


All work must be individual. Evidence of plagiarism (use of anotherís ideas, data, and statements without acknowledgment and/or extensive use of anotherís ideaís, data and statements with only minimal acknowledgment), or multiple submissions (submitting the same work for more than one class), will lead to the procedures set up by the university for academic dishonesty. All students are expected to honor their commitment to the universityís Honor Code.  Be aware that academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, has serious consequences, even dismissal from the university.  Please, submit your own work.


I pride myself on being a teacher who is always available for his students, and I strongly encourage you to come and see me if you have any problems. I will be more than willing to schedule an appointment with you if you are unable to meet with me during my regular office hours.  If you are unable to contact me at school, feel free to contact me any time via email (CMTUSA@LSU.EDU).

 *** You can access information regarding the course (syllabi, course assignments, etc.)  as well as other writing-based resources at the following address:    


Chris Tusa

Site Designed and Hosted by Hurricom Interactive