Studies in Poetry

A seminar in which we read a swatch of Walt Whitman’s poems and then follow how his reputation has spread across the world. We consider why he’s a heterosexual hero to New York women in 1890, a gay hero to Oscar Wilde in 1895, a nationalist patriot in Russia in the 1920s, a communist sympathizer in America’s Dust Bowl in the 1930s, an Incan stone-cutter in Peru in the 1940s, a mystic in Buenos Aires, and a dirty old man in Berkeley. Several short papers and presentations. Enrollment strictly limited to 12 students.

Walt Whitman, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Mann, William Carlos Williams, Anna Akhmatova, Pablo Neruda, Jorge Luis Borges, John Steinbeck, Allen Ginsburg, and Grace Paley.