This course will consider twentieth-century innovations in American poetry. We will begin with the two contrasting figureheads of modern American verse: Walt Whitman, with his open and capacious lines, and Emily Dickinson, with her incisive and sharpened words. With these foundational poles in mind, we will read a range of poetic voices: in the early part of the century, the instigations of T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound and the rich forms of the Harlem Renaissance; in midcentury, the beats and confessional verse; and at the century’s end, cultural and experimental turns. Course requirements include two essays and shorter response papers.