Course code:



I - Introductory

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • W - Writing

Typically offered:

Every other year

 In his book How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry, the poet Edward Hirsch writes: “Reading poetry is an adventure in renewal, a creative act, a perpetual beginning, a rebirth of wonder.” With this idea as our starting point, we will read (and fall in love with) a wide range of poems to unveil, investigate, celebrate, discuss, analyze, and respond to the art, craft, beauty, and power of poetry. In addition to studying the technique, forms, and traditions of poetry, we will examine the transformative power of poetry, from the personal to the political. We will look at the intersections between poetry and social action, including Adrienne Rich’s discussion of the politics of metaphor, Rafael Campo’s exploration of the connections between poetry and medicine, and Claudia Rankine’s examination of race in America. Integral to this course is the study and practice of writing as a process (musing, writing, revising, editing). Students will write about poetry and will participate actively in peer review. Class work will include discussing course readings, analyzing the relationship between form and meaning, studying the role and value of poetry in American culture, and engaging in peer review. Written work will include three short essays, an argumentative essay rooted in research about why poetry matters, and a visual presentation. Students will be evaluated on class participation, written assignments, writing process, peer review, and presentations. Course texts will include Mary Oliver’s A Poetry Handbook, individual collections by a variety of contemporary American poets, and essays about the role and relevance of poetry.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.