English N166

Special Topics: American Poetry, 1650-2016

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Session Course Areas
3 Summer 2017 O'Brien, Geoffrey G.
MTTh 2-4 56 Barrows D

Other Readings and Media

All primary and secondary readings will be drawn from a Course Reader.


This survey of U.S. poetries will begin with 17th- and 18th-century poems by two women, Anne Bradstreet and Phyllis Wheatley, move to another (19th-century) pairing in Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson, and then touch down in expatriate and stateside modernisms, the Harlem Renaissance, the New York School, and Language Poetry, on our way to the contemporary. Rather than cover all major figures briefly, we'll spend extended time with the work of a few: poets considered will include Paul Dunbar, Gertrude Stein, T.S. Eliot, Claude McKay, Jean Toomer, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, Lyn Hejinian, Morgan Parker, and Graham Foust. Along the way we'll consider renovations and dissipations of conventional form and meter, the task and materials of the long poem, seriality, citationality, who and what counts as a poetic subject, and how U.S. poetries have imagined community over and against their actual Americas. 

This course will be taught in Session D, from July 3 to August 10.

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