HC221H - Epic Influences: Poetry, Leadership, and You

Professor: Barbara Mossberg

4.00 credits

CRN 12241: Monday & Wednesday, 10:00-11:50am @ CHA 301

Epic rules! In this course, we are sleuths, investigating the case for and evidence of the questionable theory that poetry is an instrumental aspect of leadership. From Homer to Cervantes, Nelson Mandela to Amanda Gorman, Churchill to Richard Feynman to Harry Styles, Lincoln to Mao to Obama,  Nikki Giovanni to George Lucas to Cameron Awkward-Rich, we cite chapter and verse, working independently and in teams, researching diverse leaders’ use of poetry across fields and disciplines and cultures. Featuring Lincoln as a model influencer for our research, we will collaborate to detect what influenced him: the role of poetry in civil and human rights, war and peace, and environmental legislation. We will consider what role poetry plays in representative leaders’ lives and acts. In teams, we will read global epic works that chronicle and depict leadership lessons throughout history and put together a synthesis of leadership wisdom across time. Students will select your own exemplar to illustrate the role poetry plays in their leadership, culminating in a TED talk (“how poetry made a difference in my leadership/life”); and as leadership authorities, we will comprise a leadership consulting practice, EPIC LEADERSHIP CONSULTING, LLC, advising current or past leaders based on the wisdom of poetry and poems you advise them to read, resulting in a collective Leader’s Reader. Reading texts of epic imagination including Dante’s Inferno, students will select your own poet Virgil who leads you on your life journey. We will learn from each other as a “collaboratory,” an heuristic learning community. To understand the power of poetry, we will look around and within to assess a poem’s impact and ability to move a heart and mind and nation. The key is you as a reader and writer. That self-knowledge is the power of epic poetry and leadership!