Poetry of the City Graduation 2022

May 2022 marked the graduation of the first class of Poetry in America, 1850-1945: the second of our semester-long courses on offer to high school students for dual enrollment credit through Arizona State University. This new course is offered by the newly established Center for Public Humanities at Arizona State University, in collaboration with ASU Learning Enterprise. 

Our New York Times-lauded dual-enrollment program allows students to obtain high school and college credit concurrently, with courses centering on a wide range of American poets and their place in American history. 

The 250+ students who passed the course are now eligible to receive 3 widely transferable undergraduate credits from Arizona State University. Many students were alumni of the Fall 2021 course Poetry in America: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop – rounding out a full year of Poetry in America with 6 undergraduate credits to kick-start their college career. 

A blue and burgundy brochure for English194: The City from Whitman to Hip Hop, a poetry course offered at Arizona State University in Fall 2022.
At our mini-commencement, three new graduates spoke about their experiences in the program and bravely offered to read a piece of their own poetry. A student from one of our partner schools in Atlanta, Georgia praised the tenacity of the teaching staff: “There was incredibly responsive help. Any question I have was answered right away. It’s very nice to have a staff that’s on duty and on point. They know their craft. They have the experience to back it up. They have the credentials to back it up.” 
A colorful poster congratulating scholars on their graduation from the semester long course offered jointly between poetry in America and Arizona State University. The background is dark blue and decorated with small pastel stars.

Another student of a partner school in Atlanta, Georgia singled out the value of the critical tools she learned: “I’ve always felt that there was something missing from my understanding of poetry, and through this course, I learned that it’s about personality. Not just the personality of the poets or the speakers, but poems themselves have personality.” 

Olivia Gatwood, who has curly brown hair and wears a black top, smiles as she makes the keynote speech at the virtual graduation.
Pictured: Olivia Gatwood

The night’s keynote speaker, poet and novelist Olivia Gatwood, spoke about her own experiences with poetry and the camaraderie she’s developed by sharing her poetry with others. “I began to rely on extracurricular poetry programs like this one…later it became spoken-word teams, and what I found in those programs were other kids who were interested in the craft, who were interested in reading poetry, exploring poetry, practicing poetry, and really honing in on it.” 

Enrollment is extended through July 8th for the 2022-23 academic year to all schools — including public, charter, and private — for a semester or a full year of programming. Individual learners independent of a school group are also welcome to enroll. 

The enrollment deadline for Fall 2022 has been extended to Friday, July 8th.