From the time of Phillis Wheatley to Walt Whitman to today, poets have always raised their voices to describe, applaud or protest matters of public concern. This course will look at contemporary poetry that addresses issues of environment, science, immigration and the structure of a free society. What makes these poems memorable or effective? We will analyze the effect of specific techniques, language use and tone and compare the work of American poets with that of other cultures and former times. Everyone will be invited to participate in a wide-ranging discussion.