Poetry in America with Elisa New
HarvardX for Alumni
Set in the historic setting of Harvard and its environs - a place that, coincidentally, is where the history of American poetry began, Elisa New’s Poetry in America reveals that the histories of American poetry and Harvard University run in parallel and also interlacing streams.
The list of poets who studied here – lived here – includes Anne Bradstreet, Edward Taylor, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Adrienne Rich, Robert Lowell, Wallace Stevens, T.S. Eliot, W.E.B Du Bois, and many, many others.
Professor New throws open the doors of Harvard University's great resources. Visit Houghton Library, where the manuscripts of Emily Dickinson, among many other poets, are held. Follow in the footsteps of Marianne Moore, visiting Harvard's Museum of Natural History in order to understand what she meant when she wrote in a poem that “superior people never need to be shown Longfellow's grave or the glass flowers at Harvard.” Wander Harvard Yard underneath the trees John Ashbery may have had in mind when he wrote his first book, Some Trees.
Treating individual figures major poetic movements and probing the many uses of poetry across changing times Professor New illustrates a historical time line for the American poetic tradition while also giving students tools to approach any poetic tradition.