Reading Poetry

Brass plate with raised words "Leaves of Grass" as a mirror image.

Original brass die used for 1860 edition of Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman on tombstone-shaped brass plate. Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Feinberg-Whitman Collection, LC-DIG-ppmsca-07531. This image is in the public domain.


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As Taught In

Spring 2018



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

How do you read a poem? Intuition is not the only answer. In this class, we will investigate some of the formal tools poets use—meter, sound, syntax, word-choice, and other properties of language—as well as exploring a range of approaches to reading poetry, from the old (memorization and reading out loud) to the new (digitally enabled visualization and annotation). We will use readings available online via the generosity of the Poetry Foundation and the Academy of American Poets. We will also think collectively about how to approach difficult poems.

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Related Content

Mary Fuller. 21L.004 Reading Poetry. Spring 2018. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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