This advanced seminar will begin by focussing on issues pertinent to African American poetry--e.g. What makes a poem a black poem? How has black music influenced African American poetry? How has the new formalism shaped African American poetics?--and move onward to full-length volumes by African American poets. Our purpose in the early portion of the course is to develop a critical vocabulary and fashion techniques that will allow students to function in poetry's discursive world. The latter part of the course will build on this foundation in order to apply our critical energies to the task of explication in a wider context. Poets in the course will include Clifton, Dove, Brown, Hughes, Moss, Weaver, and Eady.