ENGLISH 441 - Contemporary Poetry
Fall 2023, Section 001 - Resonant Understandings
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
See additional student enrollment and course instructor information to guide you in your decision making.


Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/28/23 - 12/6/23 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Elizabeth Alexander, in a blurb for Claire Schwartz’s Civil Service, posits that in poetry, “truth comes in the form not of hard fact but rather of resonant understanding.”

In this class, we’ll read six poetry collections published in the last few years that offer “reckoning with and redress of” the present. While we read, we’ll notice: how can understanding “resonate”? How does an experience of a poem develop within us, even when we can’t quite describe that experience? What else “resonates”? Is this metaphorical, or a literal description of how “truth comes”? What happens to us, within us, and across us when we read contemporary poems? What can poetry offer to the present? What forms of “pleasure, solace, disruption, accountability, community,” does contemporary poetry pass along to us, and what will we do with it?

We’ll each experience a different micro-survey of what contemporary poetry is up to, can do, in 2023 and beyond. Expect to read a lot, to write reflectively and critically, and to build the skills to facilitate and participate in meaningful ongoing discussions of poetry and poetics.

A list of possible texts (some we’ll read together, others you’ll select based on interest):

Monica Youn, From From (Graywolf Press, 2023)

Solmaz Sharif, Customs (Graywolf Press, 2022)

Sawako Nakayasu, Pink Waves (Omnidawn, 2023)

Jos Charles, a Year and other poems (Milkweed Editions, 2022)

dg nanouk okpik, Blood Snow (Wave Books, 2022)

Courtney Faye Taylor, Concentrate (Graywolf Press, 2022)

Claire Schwartz, Civil Service (Graywolf Press, 2022)

Daniel Borzutzky, Written After a Massacre in the Year 2018 (Coffee House Press, 2021)

John Keene, Punks (The Song Cave, 2022)

Marwa Helal, Ante body (Nightboat Books, 2022)

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Village (Graywolf Press, 2023)

Wo Chan, Togetherness (Nightboat Books, 2022)

Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Look at This Blue (Coffee House Press, 2022)

Douglas Kearney, SHO (Wave Books, 2021)

Dionne Brand, Nomenclature (Duke University Press, 2022)

Divya Victor, Curb (Nightboat Books, 2021)

Estimated book costs are $85-100. 

(All quotations above are from descriptions of the books we’ll read.)

This course satisfies the following CURRENT English major/minor requirement: American Literature, Poetry

This course satisfies the following NEW English major/minor requirements: Foundations & Methods 300/400-level, Time: Contemporary/Modern

Course Requirements:

This course requires regular participation in class discussions, timely and thorough completion of reading, routine informal written responses in advance of each class meeting, and six unit-end assignments which include four individual responses (critical, creative, or something in-between; 3 written pages or equivalent) and two small group facilitations. The course will culminate with a final assignment that includes a written component as well as a presentation.

Intended Audience:

Prior poetry study is recommended (English 240 or similar), but all are welcome to enroll.


ENGLISH 441 - Contemporary Poetry
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
MW 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/28/23 - 12/6/23

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