This course interrogates the social role of the poet and the notion of lyric identity as poetry evolves from the mid-17th to the early 20th centuries. We will examine closely British and English poets of this period and ask how poetry distinguishes itself as a literary enterprise, noting in particular the political and aesthetic shifts that occur. Focusing on form and constraint as expressions of poetic will, we will develop techniques of close reading at the same time as we hone a historical narrative of the shifting ideologies—social, political, personal, and aesthetic—poetry enables. We will read works by Marvell, Dryden, Pope, Gray, Blake, Wordsworth, Keats, Tennyson, Hardy, Yeats, Pound and Eliot, among others. Students can expect a mid-term and final exam, as well as two 4-5 page essays and weekly responses.