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American Poetry in the 20th-Century

ENGL 088.001
instructor(s):
MW 2-3:30

This will be a survey of American poetry in the 20th-Century concentrating on a number of representative poets and reading their work in relation both to literary and cultural history. We will begin with Whitman, Dickinson, Dunbar, and Longfellow to establish the contexts that 20th-century poets inherited, accepting or rebelling against them. We will read a wide range of modernists, first-wave (Williams, Stein, H. D., Moore, Pound, Eliot, Toomer, Johnson, Frost, McKay) and second-wave (Crane, Rukeyser, Hughes, Reznikoff, Zukofsky). We will then follow two poetic strands, one based in Eliot's later work (the Agrarians and those affiliated with the New Criticism); the other based in the experimentation of Pound, Moore and Williams (Bishop, Rich, Brooks, Olson, Creeley). The survey will end with a look at the post-WWII poetic landscape, dominated by later versions of these same two tendencies. We will read Ginsberg, O'Hara. Ashbery, Susan Howe, among others.