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IAP poetry course extended into spring term

"The Pleasures of Poetry ," the hourlong poetry discus- sion course held daily throughout IAP, has been extended as a result of popular demand.

Professor of Literature David Thorburn was an organizer of "Pleasures of Poetry" more than five years ago. The literature section sponsored the course. Faculty, staff and "friends of the department" have led the wide-ranging poetry discussions.

"I've been asked in previous years to consider continuing the event into the regular term. This year there is an enthusiastic cadre of folks from all parts of the Institute--staff people, faculty, students--who want the project to continue. It's gratifying to realize that poetry matters in the culture of the Institute," Thorburn said.

As with the IAP course, the extended sessions of "The Pleasures of Poetry" will be open to all students, staff and faculty.

Anne M. Hudson, administrative assistant in the Department of Chemistry, attended the poetry sessions that just concluded. She will be leading a discussion of work by Sylvia Plath.

"I strongly believe that poetry has a place in the life of thoughtful, literate people, even at a school as skewed toward the sciences as MIT, and so I'm thrilled to be part of this seminar series to share the pleasures of poetry with other interested members of the MIT community," Hudson said.

Sue Delaney, a lab coordinator in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning, has attended the IAP series for five years and is co-directing the spring series with Thorburn.

"Poetry is a wonderful thing to be able to put into your day. It's a piece of a poet's life experience, so it gives us a chance to reflect on our own experience in a way we don't often take the time to do in this busy world," Delaney said.

"Sitting around a seminar table with other lovers of poetry is a great luxury in my working life. Plus, my degree in English is almost 30 years old; 'The Pleasures of Poetry' series introduces me to new poets and poems, and reminds me why some of the classics are so great," said Stephen Pepper, administrative assistant at the Sloan School of Management.

"The Pleasures of Poetry" begins on Friday, Feb. 22 and will meet every other Friday through May from 2-3 p.m. in Room 14N-417. Volunteer discussion leaders include Assistant Professor Noel Jackson, Professor Ruth Perry and Lecturer Howard Eiland of the literature section. Poetry to be discussed this term includes 18th-century ballads and poems by Roethke, Shakespeare and Allen Ginsburg. For more information, contact Delaney at or Thorburn at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 13, 2002.

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