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'Pleasures of Poetry' series reborn

Professor David Thorburn opened the "Pleasures of Poetry" discussion series by reading aloud and leading a discussion of "Fear" by C.K. Willams.
Caption:
Professor David Thorburn opened the "Pleasures of Poetry" discussion series by reading aloud and leading a discussion of "Fear" by C.K. Willams.
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Photo / Donna Coveney

The freewheeling and popular IAP course "Pleasures of Poetry" has taken on a life of its own. Presented by the literature faculty and enhanced by volunteer participant-leaders, "Pleasures of Poetry" will meet twice each month this fall from noon to 1 p.m. in Room 14E-304.

Open to students, faculty and staff, the sessions offer readings, a brief talk and enthusiastic discussion of memorable poems.

"This series has been a mainstay of IAP for many years. We're expanding into the regular semester in response to a welcome surge of interest among MIT staff and students," said David Thorburn, professor of literature and a MacVicar Faculty Fellow. "Poetry is alive and well at MIT!"

Thorburn led the inaugual meeting of "Pleasures of Poetry" on Sept. 18 with a reading and discussion of "Fear" by C.K. Williams. Williams won a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry in 2000; "Fear" was published in The New York Times in commemoration of the events of Sept. 11.

Upcoming poetry discussions are as follows.

Oct. 2 - Li Po, Ezra Pound, HD and Gertrude Stein, led by Stephen Tapscott.

Oct. 23 - poems to be selected by Stephen Cramer.

Nov. 6 - "The Ballad of Hind Horn," led by Ruth Perry.

Nov. 20 - Chinese Poetry from Wang Wei to Mahler, led by Peter Perdue.

Dec. 4 - works by e.e. cummings, led by Anne Hudson.

Hudson, an administrative assistant in the chemistry department, led a poetry session and participated in the course during IAP and spring 2002.

"It's been gratifying to see the participation of students, staff and even students' spouses in this seminar," she said.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on October 2, 2002.

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