English 166 - Summer Sessions II, 2017

Love & Desire in Contemporary American Poetry

Class Information

Instructor: Williams, Nathaniel
CRN: 74028
Time: MTW 10:00-11:40
Location: 101 Olson


    This course will examine how poets deal with multiple aspects of "love and desire," from traditional courtship and physical longing to heartbreak. We'll start by examining Ginsberg and Rich, poets whose frankness about desire and sexual identity shaped the late 20th century. We'll move on to cover commitment, familial love, and similar concepts. The last half of class will cover recent 21st-century work by poets who play with the fluid nature of identity, challenging us to examine, critique, and even laugh about norms of gender, race, sexual orientation, and other concepts that shape who we desire and love.


    A short, warm-up essay (10%), a longer research paper (25%), one journal chronicling your reading of one of our more recent poet's books (20%), a few quizzes (10%), class discussion (10%) and a final essay exam (25%).


    Collected Poems, 1947-1997, Allen Ginsberg
    The Dream of a Common Language, Adrienne Rich
    Love, Death, and the Changing of the Seasons, Marilyn Hacker
    Blonde on Blonde / Blood on the Tracks , Bob Dylan
    Stag's Leap, Sharon Olds
    Slow Lightning , Eduardo Corral
    Motherland Fatherland Homelandsexuals, Patricia Lockwood