Fall 2016

Amherst Poets


Amelia Worsley (Section 01)


Amherst has an unusually rich literary heritage:  from Emily Dickinson to Robert Frost; Sylvia Plath to Richard Wilbur; James Merrill to Elizabeth Alexander; many of America’s most treasured poets have called this area home.  This introductory course is designed to welcome students who have not previously taken a college-level English course into the literary environment of Amherst, and from there, into the global community of poetry readers. How does our experience of living in Amherst change how we might read the poetry that was written here?  In turn, how might reading this poetry deepen our experience more broadly?

We will explore how poetry can mediate the relationship between interior and exterior worlds, between real and imagined communities, and between private and public spheres.  We will make sustained use of the local resources available to us, discuss manuscript versions of poems held at Amherst’s Frost Library and at Smith College, meet with David Sofield and Daniel Hall, poets writing and teaching on the Amherst College campus today, and attend a poetry reading at the Smith Poetry Center. Students will also work to give something back to our literary community as part of their own learning process. We will make several trips to the Emily Dickinson Museum and attend to the intersections between Dickinson’s poetry and the spaces she wrote in.  Students will work closely with the director of public programs at the museum to produce audio and digital guides specially designed for disabled visitors to the museum.  Finally, the class will collaborate on an event in celebration of Amherst poets, hosted by the Center for Humanistic Inquiry at Amherst College.

No prior experience of poetry will be assumed.  Limited to 12 students.  Fall semester.  Professor Worsley.

If Overenrolled: Dean handles this


Attention to Issues of Gender and Sexuality, Attention to Research, Attention to Speaking, Attention to Writing


2021-22: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2016