Topics in American Cultures - Poetry (New Course!)
Modern Lyric Poetry’s Democratic Challenge
This course asks students to consider how modern lyric poetry in the United States is significantly shaped and re-shaped by the work of poets, critics, and philosophers of color pursuing vital questions about the relations of art and society. In particular, they ask whether “lyric” structures and modalities can make special contributions towards the goal of creating—both formally and substantively—a more ethnically and racially robust democracy. For the poets, critics, and philosophers we'll read, that vision of American democracy requires, among other things, emphatic recognition of and decisive attention to the diversity and equality of American cultures. We'll thus encounter the work of modern American poets and critics from groups historically underrepresented or excluded from the official and/or dominant institutions of literary art, as they explore a number of key issues.