HC101H - Poetry of Black Liberation (Spring/2024)

Professor: Courtney Thorsson

4.00 credits

  • CRN 32023: Tuesday & Thursday, 12:00-1:20pm @ New Residence Hall 129

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 a variety of time periods, races, genders, nations, and literary movements. Each group of poems we read will be about a particular historical figure such as Phillis Wheatley, Toussaint L’Ouverture, Nat Turner, John Brown, Frederick Douglass, Emmett Till, Malcolm X, and Billie Holiday. 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.