2018-2019 Catalog

ENGL 273 American Poetry, Politics, and Pleasure

Today, poetry is less often studied than prose or film. However, for American poets between the 18th and 20th centuries, poetry was a primary technology for the liberation of feeling and, by that, a challenge to the political status quo. Verse was seen as a process whereby the poet and the reader overcame the ideological habituations of a prosaic and controlling world of isolation, money, and pragmatism. Thus, this genre constituted as existential revolt against capitalization through the unfettering of emotions from excessive familiarity and cliché. This class will expect no previous knowledge of the genre. After a sufficient, but brief, introduction to the methods of verse, we will undertake an immersion in a very few and brief poems from writers including Wheatley, Bradstreet, Poe, Whitman, Ginsberg, Plath, and Stevens.


4 units