Poetry in America [Non-Credit]

The Civil War and Its Aftermath

This free, not-for-credit online course, the fifth installment of the multi-part Poetry in America series, explores the Poetry of the American Civil War and the series of major events and social movements that followed it—including Reconstruction, the Jim Crow Era, and Manifest Destiny, to name just a few.


Encountering such poets as Herman Melville, Julia Ward Howe, Walt Whitman, Edward Arlington Robinson, Paul Laurence Dunbar, James Weldon Johnson, Francis Ellen Watkins Harper, Emma Lazarus and W.E.B. DuBois, we will examine the language of patriotism, pride, violence, loss, and memory inspired by the Nation’s greatest conflict. Distinguished guests for this module include Harvard President Drew Faust, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and screenwriter Tony Kushner, Professor and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Henry Louis Gates Jr., baritone Davone Tines, and Harvard Civil War scholar John Stauffer, among others.


Before you begin, you can get a head start on Poetry in America: The Civil War and Its Aftermath using the Module 5 Reading List.

We also invite you to explore the following resources to learn more about the history and literature of the American Civil War: