Introduction

*Note: This is an Archived course. At this time, you can only explore this course in a self-paced fashion. Certain features of this course may not be active (i.e. discussion forum), but many people enjoy watching the videos and working with the materials. Make sure to check back for reruns of this course.
 
This course, the fourth installment of the multi-part Poetry in America series, explores the poetry of Emily Dickinson, one of America’s most distinctive and prolific poets. While Dickinson wrote nearly 2,000 poems during her lifetime, she chose never to publish, opting instead to revisit and revise her works throughout her lifetime.  Keeping this dynamic of self-revision in mind, we will consider a number of Dickinson’s poems—many seemingly in tension with one another—concerned with Nature, Art, the Self, and Darkness. We will travel to the Dickinson Collection at Harvard's Houghton Library, and to Amherst, Massachusetts, paying a visit to the house in which the poet lived and wrote until her death in 1886. Distinguished guests for this module include NBA athlete Jason Collins, dancers Damian Woetzel and Charles “Lil Buck” Riley, and President and CEO of the New America Foundation Anne Marie Slaughter, among others.
 
Led by Harvard Professor Elisa New, Poetry in America surveys nearly 400 years of American poetry. Through video lectures, archival images and texts, expeditions to historic sites, interpretive seminars with large and small groups, interviews with poets and scholars, and conversations about poems with distinguished Americans, Poetry in America embarks on a journey through the literature of a nation. Distinguished guests, including President Bill Clinton, Elena Kagan, Henry Louis Gates, Eve Ensler, John McCain, Andrea Mitchell, Michael Pollan, Drew Faust, Tony Kushner, and Nas, among others, bring fresh perspectives to the study of American Poetry.
 

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See other modules of this course:

Poetry in America: The Poetry of Early New England

Poetry in America: Nature and Nation, 1700-1850

Poetry in America: Whitman

Meet The Faculty

Elisa New

Elisa New

Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University

Elisa New is the Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature at Harvard University where she teaches classic American literature from Anne Bradstreet through Marilynne Robinson and from the Puritans to the present day. She is the author of New England Beyond Criticism: In Defense of America’s First Literature (Wiley Blackwell, 2014) The Regenerate Lyric: Theology and Innovation in American Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 1992) The Lines Eye: Poetic Experience, American Sight(Harvard University Press, 1999) and Jacob’s Cane: A Jewish Family’s Journey from the Four Lands of Lithuania to the Ports of London and Baltimore (2009). She also has a companion book to the Poetry in America project, How To Read American Poetry (2017-18), forthcoming from Wiley-Blackwell.

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