We will be reading a number of the major statements in poetics, from Aristotle to Shelley to the contemporary avant-garde; and we will be reading a wide range of poetry, from oral poetry and ballads to many of the canonical figures to contemporaries of varying stripes. This field, obviously huge, will be focused by continual reference to Modernist through contemporary writing, where histories of primary and long lasting questions continue to surface and to shape horizons of possibility. Does poetry derive from divine inspiration or personal imagination? Was Plato right in kicking the poets out of his Republic? Is poetry civilized or elemental?