A survey of 20th - 21st century U.S. poetry: poets studied may include Elizabeth Bishop, Robert Hayden, Randall Jarell, John Berryman, Robert Lowell, Gwendolyn Brooks, Denise Levertov, James Merrill, John Ashbury, Philip Levine, Anne Sexton, and others.
ENGL 365: Contemporary American Poetry
Instructor: Susan Lurie
English Department Areas of Specialization:
Culture & Social Change
Literature & Literary History
Poetry directs our attention to how meaning takes shape in language; it asks us to read differently, to attend to expanded possibilities for language as a medium for both producing and challenging habits of thinking. Poetry helps us to think beyond the obvious, to think anew, to attend to what may be regarded as unspeakable, to be open to encountering surprise, delight, and challenge through the practice of poetic reading itself.
This course will explore developments in US poetry during an especially vibrant time: from the 1990’s to the present. We will explore a range of significant writers, but we will study in depth several major poets, all of whom are award-winning shapers of new directions for what poems can do. We will be reading works that take up the most compelling and urgent issues of the times—questions of language and meaning, time and memory, citizenship and social movements, global and national frames for self and others, the construction of meanings for race and gender, relations to the environment and to nonhuman life. Throughout the course, and at times in conversation with literary critics and theorists, we will place poems in context of the world of events and ideas in which they were produced. Students who write or are interested in writing poetry themselves may choose to dedicate one paper assignment to a portfolio of their own writing.
This course is approved for Group 1 Distribution (D1)