HC221H - Epic Influences: Poetry, Leadership, and You

Professor: Barbara Mossberg

4.00 credits

  • CRN 15672: Monday & Wednesday, 12:00-1:20pm @ CHA 301

“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.” - Percy Bysshe Shelley”
“difficult . . . despised poems without which men die miserably every day” - William Carlos Williams 

In which we investigate poetry as a tool of leadership and learning, and its catalytic role in civic society.
In this lively discourse of scholarship’s analytical and imaginative critical thinking, we are sleuths, investigating the case for and evidence of the questionable theory that poetry is an instrumental aspect of leadership, impacting both personal leadership and civic society.

We are studying how words inspire new thinking: the source of their power. Considering the historical education of leaders, we begin by studying foundational epic works that influence leaders, and leaders’ experience with and use of poetry, in teams and independently, in figures including Homer, Dante, Cervantes, Shakespeare, and Nelson Mandela. We trace who influenced influential figures including Tennyson, Ruskin, Coleridge, Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, and Abraham Lincoln, and the role of poetry in the influencing of Amanda Gorman, Wangari Maathai, Churchill, Richard Feynman, Harry Styles, Lincoln, Mao, Obama, Nikki Giovanni, George Lucas, Cameron Awkward-Rich, and Bayo Akomolafe, as well as leaders you identify from your own life experience and interests: we cite “chapter and verse” of examples we find as evidence of poetry in leaders’ practice. Then bringing this home to our own class, exploring this literature as a magic mirror, you will find yourself and your inner leader—and poet!--our world needs urgently. Yes, you! 

Our learning outcomes are critical for the roles you will play in law, business administration, organizational leadership, political science, languages, environmental humanities and studies, communication, sociology, psychology, product design, and other fields.