Some poets are known for their portrayal of alternative sexualities in their poetry. Others are known for trying to cover sexuality up. Can we use a poem to determine whether a poet is gay, lesbian, or bisexual? Or do some poets simply defy categorization? What makes a poem queer? Is poetry in general somehow more or less queer than other literary forms? Even if we can answer these questions, what would they tell us about literature? This course will investigate such topics and more by tracking roughly a century of queer poetry in America, from Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson to W.H. Auden, Frank O’Hara, and Elizabeth Bishop. We will ask what their poetry meant in their own times and places, as well as what it means to us in our own era of expanding civil rights and changing sexual attitudes.
3-5 units. Less units for students who want to have a lighter load.