You might think that it's only recently that the cultural relevance of poetry has come into question. But in fact it's been a pressing question for a while now. The challenge of defining (and redefining) the proper relation between poetry and daily life in the "real" world is one that has been absolutely integral to poetic production in the so-called modern era. This class will introduce you to British poetry from 1660 to the mid 1900's, paying particular attention to the way in which poems of the period engage with (or disengage with, for that matter) modern socio-political institutions. Such institutions include the Church, the nuclear family, representative democracy, industrial technology, empire, coffee shops, and more. In our study of the poems, form will be just as important an issue as content, and we will discuss the ways in which the form of a poem, far from being a neutral aspect of the literature, has an impact on the meaning of the text. Poets will likely include Milton, Pope, Montagu, Smith, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Hemans, Tennyson, Arnold, the Rossettis, Housman, Hardy, Eliot, and Yeats, among others. No prior training in how to read poetry is required or expected. There will be two medium-length essays, a final exam, and some occasional short homework assignments.