Professor: Courtney Thorsson
CRN 12231: Tuesday & Thursday, 2:00-3:20pm @ ANS 192
In this course, we will study poems about figures in the long struggle for Black liberation in the United States. The poems we read will be by writers from different time periods, races, genders, nations, and literary movements. Each group of poems we read will be about a particular historical figure such as Toussaint L’Ouverture, Nat Turner, John Brown, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Emmett Till, Malcolm X, Billie Holiday, John Coltrane, Rosa Parks, and Barack Obama. As this list of possibilities suggests, we will think about ways poetry describes and imagines masculinity, socio-political change, freedom, and the relationship between music and literature, among other subjects. We will learn to identify conventions of sonnets, ballads, and other poetic forms as our authors use them in a variety of specific political, historical, and cultural contexts. The purpose of this class is to help you engage with literature as a tool in the long Black freedom struggle, improving your writing, reading, and critical thinking skills in the process.