W.B Yeats (1865-1939), an Irishman, Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), an American, and W.H.Auden (1907-1973), an Englishman, were three of the most challenging poets of the twentieth century. Although their ways of writing on love, loss, time, beauty, and destruction, were very different, they shared a passionate concern for poetry as an Art. This 10-session course will discuss what this means after studying a selection of their poems in detail.
From Yeats, there will be poems from his middle period including 'Sailing to Byzantium', 'A Prayer for my Daughter' and 'Meditations in Time of Civil War'; from Stevens the course will look at the most exuberant and reflective poems from his first volume, Harmonium; from Auden the love poetry and the poems of foreboding from the 1930s. The last poem will be Auden's 'In Memory of W.B.Yeats'.
By careful reading and class discussion, this course hopes to make each poem accessible even to nervous readers, so that everyone can share in what Yeats calls 'delight'.