HUMS 231, Poetic Influence from Shakespeare to the Twenty-First Century

Meeting Time: 
W 1:30pm-3:20pm

Course Description:

What does it mean to read poetry as a poet? Or, as someone interested in how poems get made? In what ways do poets read and interpret the poets who came before them? How do they attempt to fashion old material into new poetic visions? How do poets hear echoes from the past and amplify, distort, and transform what they hear into their own unique voices in the present? And what’s really at stake in such transformations? (Why write a poem, after all?) This course reads a trajectory of poetic influence in English language poetry that stretches from Shakespeare into the twenty-first century, paying particular attention to the development of a variety of specific tropes across poems and across poets. We also read various essays, prefaces, and letters, written by poets, that attempt to articulate what a poem is and does, who or what a poet is and does, and what the value of reading and writing poetry may be, for anyone.

Led by:

Riley Soles's picture

Professor Riley Soles

Riley Parker Soles, who received a Ph.D. in East Asian languages and literature from Yale in 2018,  works comparatively at the intersection of literature, religion, and philosophy, with particular interests in hermeneutics, textual ontology, and the event/act/experience of reading. He returns to the ISM for a second year to continue work on his book project, The Ecstasy of the Text, which investigates the ways in which texts from both Western and East Asian literary and religious traditions express and enact a self-reflexive awareness of their own ontological status as texts and attempt to subvert the limitations of their materiality.