• Length:
    4 Weeks
  • Effort:
    3–5 hours per week
  • Price:

    FREE
    Add a Verified Certificate for $99 USD

  • Institution
  • Subject:
  • Level:
    Introductory
  • Language:
    English
  • Video Transcript:
    English

Prerequisites

None

About this course

This module, the fifth installment of the multi-part Poetry in America series, explores the Poetry of the Civil War and its Aftermath. We will:

  • Encounter such poets as Herman Melville, Julia Ward Howe, Walt Whitman, Edwin Arlington Robinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, Emma Lazarus and W.E.B DuBois.
  • Examine the language of patriotism, pride, justice, violence, loss, and memory inspired by the Nation’s greatest conflict.
  • Travel to Boston’s Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Monument, and to Harvard’s Memorial Hall, two iconic sites of Civil War public memory.

Distinguished guests for this module include Harvard President Drew Faust, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, Professor and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Henry Louis Gates Jr., baritone Davone Tines, and Harvard Civil War scholar John Stauffer, among others.

Led by Harvard Professor Elisa New, Poetry in America surveys nearly 400 years of American poetry. Through video lectures, archival images and texts, expeditions to historic sites, interpretive seminars with large and small groups, interviews with poets and scholars, and conversations about poems with distinguished Americans, Poetry in America embarks on a journey through the literature of a nation. Distinguished guests, including President Bill Clinton, Elena Kagan, Henry Louis Gates, Eve Ensler, John McCain, Andrea Mitchell, Michael Pollan, Drew Faust, Tony Kushner, and Nas, among others, bring fresh perspectives to the study of American Poetry.

HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.

What you'll learn

  • Understand the interaction between conflict, language, and nation-building in the context of the American Civil War
  • Identify poetic devices
  • Develop strategies for approaching a poem 
  • Make observations, understand structure, situate a text in history, and enjoy language

Meet your instructors

Elisa New
Powell M. Cabot Professor of American Literature
Harvard University

Pursue a Verified Certificate to highlight the knowledge and skills you gain $99.00

View a PDF of a sample edX certificate
  • Official and Verified

    Receive an instructor-signed certificate with the institution's logo to verify your achievement and increase your job prospects

  • Easily Shareable

    Add the certificate to your CV or resume, or post it directly on LinkedIn

  • Proven Motivator

    Give yourself an additional incentive to complete the course

  • Support our Mission

    EdX, a non-profit, relies on verified certificates to help fund free education for everyone globally