Comparative study of lyric poetry in the medieval and modern periods, in French and English, with equal emphasis on theory and practice, in order to explore basic questions in poetics: Is it possible to define lyric poetry across periods? What is lost and gained by doing so? What can contemporary debates in poetics teach us about medieval literature? What can medieval literature contribute to contemporary poetics? Topics include poetry and music, the idea of voice, the relation between lyric and dramatic monologue, and the imaginative possibilities and technical demands of archival research. Theoretical readings focus on the debate between genre theory and historicism in recent criticism, with reference also to sound studies and new formalism. Readings in medieval poetry include troubadour and trouvère poetry, and a selection of anonymous English, French, and Latin songs and graffiti; readings in modern poetry focus on Ezra Pound, Wallace Stevens, and Susan Howe. All medieval texts are available in translation.