Online Registration

Whitman and Dickinson: Gay and Lesbian Poetry in America

This is the ONLINE version of the course. In this course, we will explore the poetry of two famous American poets through the lens of their sexuality as expressed in their poems and other writings. These poets were very clearly expressive of their sexuality in their work, and in some instances in their lives, but the cultural establishment was slow to accept their orientation. Recently, this has changed (mostly). This is not the only area we will explore in their work, but it is important to acknowledge their own understanding of their selves in order to read their work faithfully. How does this understanding shift our sense of their poetry? How does it illuminate the lives of Gay and Lesbian writers, artists, and everyday people in their time? These are writers taught everywhere in our schools. How should these issues be raised in these contexts? What is the cost of ignoring this? No previous experience reading poetry is required in this course. We will work through the poems together, and we welcome people at all levels of experience. Susan Facknitz taught Irish and American Literature for 32 years at James Madison University. Within these areas her passion was poetry. She taught senior seminars on both Dickinson and Whitman several times, always highlighting issues of identity. Her approach to courses is always discussion. She is more interested in participants' questions than any other agenda.

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