Illustration of Bob Dylan

This course introduces you to the great variety of poetry written in English and to some of poetry's most creative and powerful voices. We will begin by training ourselves in how to recognize a poem – its meter, rhyme, structure, and intense focus on words – and in how to appreciate or enjoy a poem -- what makes it good or bad. We will then focus on the work of three influential and innovative poets: William Blake's illuminated (illustrated) book, Songs of Innocence and Experience; Lucille Clifton's memoir, good woman; and Bob Dylan's albums, Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde. By the end of the course you should be able to explain confidently how a poet has written a poem and make some educated guesses as to what it means. Although this is not a poetry workshop, we will be trying out some the different techniques ourselves -- writing in meter and stanzas -- as a way of learning them.