Poetry is where the personal is always political, especially when it’s not. Often described as “the art of language,” poetry is the oldest literary genre, one that can be practiced in thousands of different ways; it is both the most traditional of art forms and the one most given to innovation. This class will both examine the constituent elements that come together to make a poem as well as sample the many types of expression and social investigation poetry makes possible: sonnets, performance poetry, documentary, visual poetry, conceptual writing, found language, prose poems, haiku, collaboration. Students will write in response to weekly prompts as well as perpetually revise one early assignment over the course of the term. Students will also maintain a journal, and may be asked to write short (one- to two-paragraph) notes on different topics and be subjected to deeply perverse pop quizzes. There will be a lot of reading. Prior experience with poetry is not a requirement; nor is a major in English.