University of Iowa The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of English

Women Poets
From Sappho to the Present

Professor Florence S. Boos

Long neglected, women’s poetry has finally gained recognition in recent decades, and the works of dozens – even hundreds – of excellent writers are now available.  Prompted by this (literal) renaissance, we will read a wide range of poems by women chosen for the styles, forms and general eloquence of their work.

More precisely, we will devote the first third of the course to poetry before 1900, the second to English and American poetry of the twentieth century, and the last to twentieth/twenty-first century poetry from other countries.  I will ask students to help organize and lead class discussions, and to prepare individual projects to present to the class toward the end of the semester.

             Reading assignments will include works by Sappho, anonymous medieval lyricists, Mary Wroth, Anne Killigrew, Anne Bradstreet, Charlotte Smith, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Emily Dickinson, Augusta Webster, Charlotte Mew, Muriel Rukeyser, Denise Levertov, Gwendolyn Brooks, Leslie Marmon Silko, Joy Harjo, Liz Lochhead and Marina Tsetayeva, among others. 

Grades will be based on class participation, web commentaries, and individual projects.