Online Poetry in America

ENG 131 - Poetry in America: The City

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In this course, which draws from the acclaimed Poetry in America PBS series, we will consider American poets whose themes, forms, and voices have given expression to visions of the city since 1850. Beginning with Walt Whitman, the great poet of nineteenth-century New York, we will explore the diverse and ever-changing environment of the modern city—from Chicago to Washington, DC, from San Francisco to Detroit—through the eyes of such poets as Carl Sandburg, Emma Lazarus, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, Frank O’Hara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Hayden, and Robert Pinsky, as well as contemporary hip hop and spoken word artists.

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.

Quick facts

Next start date:

Aug. 20, 2024

  • 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 also be applied to reading literary texts more broadly
  • Build community through interactive video seminars focused around particular poems, themes, or reading or writing skills
  • Learn about the dynamic role of cities in American poetry
  • Experience the power of place through video excursions to the actual sites where our poets lived and wrote

What to expect in class

Video tutorials & conversations, archival images & texts, expeditions to historic literary sites, sample classroom visits, and practical exercises

Exams and grading


Reading Discussions


Content Quizzes


Zoom Workshops


Reading Assignments


Reading Quizzes


Final Exam


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. Course attendance dates will be listed on your transcript. An on-demand course will appear on your transcript in the session you complete the course.

This course satisfies 3 credit hours toward the HUAD: Humanities, Arts and Design General Studies requirement 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.

Faculty and course staff





Center for Public Humanities

Arizona State University

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Faculty Associate,

Center for Public Humanities

Arizona State University

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Why take ASU Universal Learner Courses

  1. Credit you receive is from a regionally accredited university
  2. Your credit is highly transferable
  3. You only pay the $400 course cost if you pass

Related programs

Online BA in English