American Poetry, 1900 to 1945
Oh Dimuro-you give such amazing lectures, loaded with very, very interesting information and I took copious notes everyday of class. You make the most boring material interesting and fun. I have learned so much from your class alone. You expect a great deal out of your students essays and I thank you for that. You challenged me and expected me to perform at a higher level than most other teachers on campus. I will not lie, some of the material is booooooooooooooring. But, you have done the impossible and made me a closet fan of Henry James.
Huehls is a really great guy. He's funny, witty, enthusiastic and makes outrageously awesome comments (if you take this class, you'll hear about Jonathan Safran Foer's sex dreams about Margaret Thatcher. OMG AWESOME). He makes a point of not bashing one political party or the other, and I really appreciate that. His teaching style is great. HOWEVER, his content is a huge issue. He is INCREDIBLY abstract and theoretical, which I know really works for some people, but if you are like me and require something more concrete, this is not the professor for you. I felt like some of the topics he lectured on were so far removed from the book itself that I couldn't see the connections. At the end, that was what did me in. I didn't understand what he was talking about. His book selection also leaves much to be desired, he picks some pretty obscure books to read.
My attendance to lecture started getting really spotty towards midterms, and remained rather low all the way to the end of the quarter thereafter. A lot of other students agreed that it usually wasn't worth the effort to go to class -- we would usually sit and read the material for the day instead of pay attention to anything he was saying. He had this tendency to talk to only a few students who he probably thought were particularly insightful on a consistent basis -- he never once called on me, despite his threat on the first day that he enjoyed putting people on the spot, and I have a feeling that may have been due to my being an English minor and not a major. With those four or five other "brilliant" people in the class, though, nobody else really had to say anything, and, frankly, you felt kind of stupid adding anything on to whatever they were saying. So the board was usually filled with their thoughts, which Mott would encourage us to steal and use in our own papers. Grading was...weird. Mott wasn't even sure what percentages were to be given to the presentations, the research paper, etc., and nobody was ever quite sure if he was BSing or not when he said to e-mail him questions to give to the panel presenters and that it would be 10% of your grade. The research paper was anywhere from 5-10 or 8-10 pages depending on your TA, and while I was worried about it being 40% of my grade, I ended up with an A- in the class, somewhat better than I was expecting. My TA was Tara Fickle, and I'm still on the fence about her. The first time I went to see her in office hours, I got the feeling she didn't really want to talk to me, but almost every discussion section afterward she would ask me how my paper topic was coming along and if I needed help. Her sections were generally straightforward and simple, and she held extended office hours instead of having discussion section the week we did in-class peer reviews for our paper. From my few interactions with Mark Gallagher, he always came across as somebody a little too thorough, maybe. It's not that he enjoys hearing himself talk, but... there was something slightly irritating about the way he lectured, if you could call it that. Between the two of them I'd rather take Tara again.
I could not agree more with the post below. While I am currently taking Professor Mullen for a different course (American Poetry 1945-Present), I could not be more disappointed. Professor Mullen does not teach, she merely requires that students sign up to present 3 times over the course of the quarter, thus exempting her from lecturing. Her classes are unstimulating and "taught" based off of peer interpretation of texts that are irrelevant to the course. I signed up for this course eager to study the transition in poetry from the '40s and '50s (beat poetry! Frank O'Hara!) only to be THOROUGHLY disappointed in our reading selections. If I wanted to take a contemporary poetry class, I would have signed up for it. Unfortunately Professor Mullen (a contemporary poet herself) doesn't take the catalog description to mind when assigning poetry selections that are dominated by current poets and required readings from the early 2000s on. The only 2 exceptions to this were Gary Snyder's "Turtle Island" (1975)and Mary Oliver's "American Primitive" (1983) - 30+ YEARS after 1945, the listed starting point for the course! I'm so tired of professors teaching according to their own interests instead of catalog course guidelines. DO NOT TAKE MULLEN unless you enjoy disorganization and LAZY "teaching" or absence of.