In the years since the Second World War, American poets have charted the life of the nation in work of unparalleled variety and brilliance. We will begin our exploration of this literature by spending two weeks on the intertwined life and work of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, two commanding figures of mid-twentieth-century poetry. We will then proceed by discussing a different poet in each class session until we arrive at a number of currently active writers. Special emphasis will be placed on representing the full variety of the literary period, including male and female poets of different geographical regions, biographical experiences, cultural backgrounds, and sexualities, as well as poets working in widely different forms, from traditional rhyme and meter to highly experimental modes. No previous study of poetry is required or assumed. Emphasis will be on developing each student’s skill as a supple and attentive reader of literary texts.
Dr. Michael Stanford