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ENGL 263 - Introduction to Poetry - Dr. Chase Dimock

Course:Introduction to Poetry
Professor:Dr. Chase Dimock
  • Online
Course Length:
  • Applies to All Course Lengths


Kiana and Dr. Dimock

Welcome to ENGL 263: Introduction to Poetry! I am Dr. Chase Dimock and I will be the professor. My dog, Kiana, will be the Teaching Assistant. This is my 6th year as a full time professor at College of the Canyons. Before coming here, I taught at colleges and universities across the country in Florida, Missouri, and Illinois where I received my PhD in Comparative Literature (hence the University of Illinois shirt!). I was born and raised in the valley and I value the opportunity to give back to the community that gave me so much. 

Poetry is one of my greatest passions. I am a published poet, I run a poetry magazine, and I have helped edit many poetry manuscripts for other writers. My number one goal is to help ignite your own passion for poetry. No matter if you're a writer yourself, an avid reader, a dabbler, or someone who feels like they never "got" poetry, I guarantee you'll find some voices in this class that speak to you personally. Poetry is not about "getting it"; it's about exploring what it means to you. I'm excited to help you discover a diverse world of poetry ranging from the classics of centuries ago to present day poets you can follow on social media.

Course Description

Here are the Course Description and Learning Outcomes from the official Course Outline: 

Course Description:

Examines major poetic forms and literary elements in selected English poems representing a diversity of voices. Emphasizes close, analytical reading of imagery, symbol, figurative language, rhythm, and sound to discover theme, tone and significance

Learning Outcomes:

1: Analyze the elements of poetry: voice, tone, connotative and denotative meanings, diction, imagery, figures of speech, sound devices, rhythm/meter, forms (closed and open), symbols, mythological allusions, theme

2: Compare and contrast traditional and modern trends in poetry, taking into account their historical, cultural, and political contexts

Course Objectives

1. Analyze various definitions of poetry

2. Distinguish the genre of poetry from other forms of writing

3. Summarize the meaning of a poem

4. Analyze the form of a poem

5. Relate the form of a poem to its themes

6. Relate the theme of a poem to its historical/cultural/political contexts

7. Compare and contrast two poems for similarities and differences in form, theme, and historical/cultural/political contexts

What to Expect in this Course

Sometimes people are afraid of poetry, or have a distaste for it because it was taught to them like a riddle to be solved. This limits the power of poetry. There is no "right or "wrong" answer. What matters is the depth and creativity of your engagement with the poem. Yes, we'll look at how scholars have interpreted famous poems, and we will apply literary devices, but what matters the most is how you critically engage with the work and explain your insights.

While we'll study the classics and build your poetry analysis toolbox, we'll also examine poetry from the present day that speaks to the issues and experiences of our community. You'll get to meet some real living poets and interact with them! Poetry is all about having a voice, and today writers use poetry to speak out on what matters to them and add their perspective to the conversation. As we read poets from past and present, I want you to think about how different styles and techniques of poetry enable certain kinds of expression and animate unique parts of our human experiences.

Although this class is about reading and analyzing the poems of others, I encourage you to try your hand at poetry yourself. Learn from the masters in our textbook and share your own perspective. I am always happy to work with with beginning poets outside of the classroom. Let's make this course a celebration of all the ideas and expressions poetry can amplify!

Types of Assessments

Short Responses, Exams, Essays, Discussion Posts

Textbook Information

How to Read Poetry Like a Professor By Thomas C. Foster
ISBN: 9780062113788

Feel free to use the paperback or ebook version. I prefer to have a paper copy so that I am not staring at a screen all day, but I want to make an ebook version available for those who prefer it.

Other Relevant Course Information

My Commitment to Student Success

As your professor, my top priority is your success as a student. I understand that all of you enter the classroom from diverse backgrounds with your own sets of challenges and goals. My mission is to help you meet the challenges that the course presents and show you how to integrate the skills and content from class into aiding your broader goals as a student. I know that every student has unique talents and perspectives and it is my hope to provide a forum for you to showcase and develop them in a way that enriches the learning experience of your fellow students. 

I also realize that reading and writing can be difficult for many students and that people learn in different ways and at different paces. While I have to keep the course moving along at a predetermined schedule in order to meet our learning outcomes, I will do what I can to individualize my instruction to meet your needs. If you reach out to me with reasonable requests, I will do my best to meet you where you are. If you are having trouble with the material, or if other circumstances are affecting your studies, please let me help. 

My success as a professor is dependent on your success as a student. I need engaged, motivated, and thoughtful students for my class to become a great learning environment. When you give it your best effort, you in turn enable me to use my most effective teaching techniques. Together we can achieve our full potential in creating an exciting and enlightening learning experience.

Additional Resources


This course can be accessed on the first day of class via Canvas at Log into Canvas using your CanyonsID single sign-on:

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Please visit the Get to Know Your Online Classroom page for help logging into Canvas and for tips on using Canvas and Zoom. Canvas Chat Support is also available 24/7 for any Canvas related issues.

Online Education

Check out the Online Education website for more information on a variety of topics that can help you be a successful online student such as: exam proctoring, learning styles, computer skills, and tips for student success. If this is your first online course, feel free to take our online learning readiness assessment to assess your skills.

The Learning Center (TLC)

The TLC provides FREE online tutoring resources to COC students!

Academic Accommodation Center (AAC)

College of the Canyons AAC provides educational services and access for eligible students with documented disabilities who intend to pursue coursework at COC. A variety of programs and services are available which afford eligible students with disabilities the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of the college programs and activities through appropriate and reasonable accommodations. For more information on their services visit the Academic Accomodation Center website.

Online Counseling

The Counseling Department offers appointments online. You can schedule an appointment by visiting the Online Counseling website. Counselors can help you map out a plan to reach your educational goals as well as advise you on course selection and registration.

Management of Stress and Mental Health

Often the pressure on our students is very strong, involving academic commitments, relationships, outside jobs and family pressure to name a few. The staff and faculty of College of the Canyons are here to see you succeed academically and care about your emotional and physical health. You can learn more about the broad range of confidential student services, including counseling and mental health services available on campus by visiting the Student Health & Wellness Center in the Student Services Building (across from the bookstore). The phone number is 661-362-3259 that you can call 24/7. You can also e mail for an appointment at At the Canyon Country Campus the Health Center will be in the new Student Services Building.

Also, the National Suicide & Crisis Lifeline number is now 988. All students at COC are encouraged to enter that phone number in their cells. You can call it when you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide or is in severe distress.

You can also now use the Crisis Text Line: Just text "Courage" to 741741. Someone will get back to you immediately. Its free, 24/7, and confidential.

Veterans Resource Center

The College of the Canyons Veterans Resource Center is a department within the Student Services Division at the college, created to help veterans and veteran dependents with applying to College of the Canyons, enrolling in classes, and requesting VA Education or Vocational Benefits. For more information please visit the Veterans Resource Center website, email or phone (661) 362-3469.


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Last updated: 03/04/2023 Sub#: 1008