This course draws from the acclaimed Poetry in America PBS series. Beginning with the poetry of the American Civil War and the series of major events and social movements that followed it, we read such poets as Herman Melville, Julia Ward Howe, Walt Whitman, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, and Emma Lazarus, and examine the language of patriotism, pride, violence, loss, and memory inspired by the nation’s greatest conflict.
As we enter the twentieth century, we encounter modernism, a movement that spanned the decades from the 1910s to the mid-1940s, and whose poetry marked a break from past traditions and past forms. We read such poets as Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, Marianne Moore, Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Claude McKay, Dorothy Parker, and Wallace Stevens. We study how these poets employed the language of rejection and revolution, of making and remaking, of artistic appropriation and cultural emancipation.
Course prerequisites and requirements
To be successful in this course, we recommend English language fluency and computer literacy. We also encourage you to make sure your laptop or desktop computer meets the technical requirements.
- Credits: 3
- Length: 16 weeks
- Cost: $25 + $400
What you’ll learn
- Learn and practice the course’s four approaches to reading a poem, which can be applied to reading literary texts more broadly
- Build course-wide community through interactive written discussion of course readings and themes and live seminars
- Learn about major historical and cultural events in American history—from the Civil War to Reconstruction, Jim Crow, industrialization, the Harlem Renaissance, and beyond—that shaped American literature.
- Experience the power of place through video excursions to the actual sites where our poets lived and wrote
- Practice critical and creative analysis and writing, and reflect on your goals and progress as a reader and writer
What to expect in class
Videos, readings, graded assignments, quizzes, creative project, and final exam
Exams and grading
Reading Response Assignments
This course appears on your transcript identically to how it appears on the transcript of an enrolled ASU student who has taken the course on one of ASU’s campuses.
This course satisfies 3 credit hours toward the Historical Awareness (H) General Studies requirements for Arizona State University. It is strongly encouraged that you consult with your institution of choice to determine how these credits will be applied to their degree requirements prior to transferring your credit.