The Emperor of Ice Cream: why Wallace Stevens, Marianne Moore and Frank O'Hara are important

Course Dates: 11/01/22 - 22/03/22
Time: 18:00 - 19:30
Location: Online
Tutors: 
We will explore the work of these three major 20th century American poets, focussing on what is original about their work and how they changed people’s understanding of what is possible in poetry. We will look at how their poetry developed over their writing lifetimes, how they saw their work in relation to the poetry of the past and present, and how their poetry reflected or otherwise gave meaning to their lives – Stevens as a lifelong insurance lawyer, Moore as an unmarried woman without a profession and living with her mother, and O’Hara as an art curator as out-gay as it was possible to be until his untimely death in 1960.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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SKU
178683
Full fee £159.00 Senior fee £159.00 Concession £97.00

Course Code: HLT26

Tue, eve, 11 Jan - 22 Mar '22

Duration: 11 sessions (over 11 weeks)

Or call to enrol:020 7831 7831

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?


We will read and discuss a selection of the poets’ poems and other writings. We will look at the richness and variety of Stevens’ early work, his writer’s block following the poor reception of his first collection Harmonium and his development of a more philosophical style. We will read some of his aphorisms and some of his writing about the importance of poetry for enriching people’s imaginations.

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

We will read and discuss a selection of the poets’ poems and other writings. We will look at the richness and variety of Stevens’ early work, his writer’s block following the poor reception of his first collection Harmonium and his development of a more philosophical style. We will read some of his aphorisms and some of his writing about the importance of poetry for enriching people’s imaginations.

With Moore we will look at the shifting balance in her work between philosophical and symbolic ideas and a mixture of ornate and down-to-earth language, also her endless care with the placing and spacing of lines. And we will follow O’Hara’s development from the influence of French symbolism to an apparently completely direct informal style of poetry which he called Personism.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Understand how these three poets rethought the relationship between poetry and the imagination
• Appreciate these poets’ power and originality
• Enjoy reading and discussing many fine poems with confidence.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

You should be interested in modern poetry. No particular knowledge or skills are needed.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

The sessions are run in a seminar style with all students included in discussions led by the tutor. You will receive copies of the poems the previous week so you can read them to be ready to discuss them. I will ask for volunteers to read each of the poems before we discuss it.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

No. The poems and other materials will be provided by the tutor and also shared by screenshare.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

Have a look at other poetry courses on our website at www.citylit.ac.uk/courses under History, Culture and Writing/Literature/Poetry.

Laurie Smith

Laurie Smith has taught poetry writing and literature courses at the City Lit for some years, focussing on modernism and writers' radicalism. He researches and lectures at King's College London, helped to found Magma poetry magazine which he sometimes edits and has been a Trustee of the Poetry Society.

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.