ENGL S-300 Poetry in America for Teachers: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop

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7-week session | CRN 33942

This course is designed specifically for secondary school educators interested in developing their expertise as readers and teachers of literature. In this course, we consider those American poets whose themes, forms, and voices have given expression to visions of the city since 1850.  Beginning with Walt Whitman, the great poet of nineteenth-century New York, we explore the diverse and ever-changing environment of the modern city—from Chicago to London, from San Francisco to Detroit—through the eyes of such poets as Carl Sandburg, Emma Lazarus, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Langston Hughes, Marianne Moore, Frank O'Hara, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Hayden, and Robert Pinsky, as well as contemporary hip hop and spoken word artists. Deep study of the poems and poets on our syllabus provides an opportunity to develop expertise as classroom educators. As we master advanced strategies for studying American poetry ourselves, we also gain rich new resources for the classroom. This course introduces content and techniques intended to help educators teach their students how to read texts of increasing complexity. Students gain teaching expertise relevant to the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) standards in grades six through 12.

Course information
Class meetings


Optional sections to be arranged.

Start date

Monday, June 25


4 credits

Course tuition


Enrollment status

  • Registration Closed
  • Notes

    Not open to Secondary School Program students. Harvard College students see additional information. This course is offered in partnership with the Poetry in America initiative and available at a special price to make it accessible to high school teachers. The course is also being offered in partnership with the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE). Students interested in professional development can earn a certificate of participation for 90 professional development hours from HGSE's Programs for Professional Education (PPE). See syllabus for details.




    Elisa New, PhD.

    Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature, Harvard University

    Gillian Osborne, PhD.

    Lecturer and Reseach Associate, Poetry in America