Love might seem like a universal human experience, as well as a deeply personal one. But our understanding and even our experience of desire is shaped by cultural tradition. This course will introduce you to some central texts in the western tradition of love poetry, by writers such as Sappho, Catullus, Ovid, Petrarch and Shakespeare. We will talk about whether ancient Greek and Roman literature about desire is different from later love poetry, and discuss the ways later writers have adopted, adapted and transformed their classical models. All readings will be in English. The course is open to anyone with an interest in poetry; no previous experience in classical studies is required.