Fall 2020

Amherst Poets

Listed in: English, as ENGL-150

Moodle site: Course


Amelia Worsley (Section 01)


From Emily Dickinson to Robert Frost to Sonia Sánchez, Amherst is world-famous because of its poets. More than twenty well-known poets have written, lived and taught in the area where we find ourselves living. This introductory course is designed to welcome students who have not previously taken a college-level English course into the literary environment of Amherst, as well as into the literary community of poetry readers across the globe, by closely studying just a few of them. Our main focus will be on the close-reading skills needed to engage with poetry of all kinds, and on the skills needed to write a college-level essay about literature. We will also engage in frequent writing workshops together.

 This course is taught entirely online. The majority of this course will be taught as synchronous Zoom meetings, though there will be opportunities for other kinds of engagement, such as online poetry readings and discussion boards. All students will have a chance to meet and talk with living Amherst Poets, who will attend class with us on Zoom. We will also meet with librarians and Writing Center associates on Zoom, to learn about research methods and essay-writing skills. There will be a chance to explore the Rare Books Room in the Amherst College library to look at manuscripts, and also a chance to view the Emily Dickinson Museum online. Outside of class, students will have a chance to share work in small peer-support groups on their essay writing.

 In an online environment, when some of us are present in Amherst and some of us are not, new questions about the importance of place will come into play, and new opportunities for connecting with Amherst Poets living far away will arise.

 Limited to 18 students. Fall and spring semesters. Professor Worsley.

If Overenrolled: Preference given to majors and first-year students. If more than 18 students attend add/drop classes, students will make an application to the professor explaining why they wish to take the course.


Attention to Writing, Online Only


2022-23: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Fall 2018, Fall 2020, Spring 2021