English 183ed. Poetry, Exile and Displacement

Instructor: Peter Sacks
Terms: Fall Term

Wednesday, 1-3pm | Emerson 104

This course studies lyric poetry and its thematic as well as formal expressions of exile, the loss of home, the experience of estrangement or dispossession. Such displacements may be from the self, or from assigned “identity” (“why should I be my aunt,/or me, or anyone?”), as much as from other persons, conditions, regimes. Selected poems will certainly coincide with the urgent unease regarding questions of the body, of the passions, of gender, of background, of national or global citizenship. With some prior examples from the ancient world to the Renaissance and Romantic periods (from Sappho and Ovid, to the anonymous author of “Tom o’ Bedlam,” and from Wordsworth and Coleridge to Tennyson, Hemans and Dickinson), the course will focus primarily on Twentieth Century works by Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, James Wright, Anthony Hecht, James Merrill, Derek Walcott, Seamus Heaney, Yusef Komunyakaa, and several others.

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