We’ll begin by reading poems by Ezra Pound and William Carlos Williams, who spent some of their formative years here at Penn, reading poems to each other. We’ll also look carefully at volumes by Susan Stewart and Eleanor Wilner, each of whom achieve an astonishing engagement with parts of the world often ignored or invisible. By the end of the semester, we’ll have read deeply in poems that celebrate and interrogate city life, sometimes with joy,sometimes with anger. We’ll read about street corners, newstands, babies, fights, reconciliations, rivers, trolleys, school, dogs and the occasional TastyKake. Many of the poets we read are young, some very traditional, some experimental. Short writing assignments, a few of them creative, a final project on a poet or a locus of Philadelphia poetry, lots of conversation and collaboration. No previous experience with poetry necessary.
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