How Poetry Matters: Reading Experimental Poetry in the Pandemic Era

Course Description

This is an introductory course to experimental poetics. We will think particularly about the political potential of poetry in the 21st century. We will primarily read recently published North American poetry, but we will also consider relevant experimental moments in the 20th century US. This is a discussion-based course in which you are expected to help guide our questions and directions.

By the end of this course, you will be able to:
• Learn how to read and relate to a poem, paying particular attention to form.
• Develop college-level questions.
• Write unique and complex arguments based in textual evidence.
• Think about the relevance of poetry, and the study of English more broadly, in the context of today's world.

This course will largely be oriented around the concept of representation, as the idea refers both to language and art as well as a political structure. Does the representation of a person in art relate to their representation in government? We will pay particular attention to the way race makes representation a problem, thinking about under-representation, over-representation, and representability itself. We will also think about the compatibility of poetry with political purposes and the materiality of poetry. This course will prepare you for further college-level study, particularly in the humanities, as well as help you connect your interests in political change to their studies.

Please note this is not a creative writing class; though there may be opportunities to write your own poetry, this is not the course's focus.


There are no prerequisites for this class. Those with the least exposure to poetry often have the most exciting ideas about it. You should have an interest in developing their argumentative writing skills and be prepared for frequent writing assignments. You should also be excited to contribute to class discussions as there are no lectures in this course.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 18, 2022 - July 22, 2022
*Duration: 1 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Katherine Preston
Course Number: 10146