Reading the great poems of the English language was once a common experience for nearly all Americans. This enriching leisure time took place in the home as well as in school. Now, however, the reading of poems – at all, let alone together – is largely a thing of the past. In schools today, poems are often studied – if they are seriously presented at all to students – as one would examine a dissected frog in biology. They are torn apart, cut open, and ripped to shreds all for the purpose of finding a “deeper meaning”. No longer are poems valuable simply because they are good, true, and beautiful. The experience that accompanies the reading of poetry is no longer considered meaningful.
In Part 2 of our new “Major British and American Poets” online class, however, Dr James Taylor (an award winning English, Humanities, Philsophy, and Education professor) and the students in the course will discuss, in admiration and wonder, the great poems of the English language. Each week selections from the two required anthologies (one British, one American) will be read aloud and covered in conversation as the class considers favorite lines, images, and themes in the poems.
The course will not merely read poetry to analyze it. Students will learn poetry by reading it aloud (and sometimes by memorizing it) as it was meant to be learned and heard. Students will consider the construction and, more importantly, the sense, imagery, truth, and beauty of each poem. And neither the teacher nor the students have to settle for anything less than what time and tradition have considered the great poems of the English language.
The atmosphere of the class will be relaxed, leisurely, and free of analysis from any of the particular literary philosophies that tend to pick poems apart in search of “hidden meanings”. The course will assume poetry is natural to all people and that to be truly educated and civilized one must know the great poems of our native tongue.
Day & Time: Monday, 1:30 – 3:00 (EST)
Key Dates: Class Begins January 16th; class ends May 7th