Why read a poem? Why write one? People say modern poetry as an art form is imperiled in our time, yet everywhere in the world cultures and individuals memorize, recite, and value various forms of poetry. This course will attempt to define this genre of poetry writing, to discuss its particular attributes, to distinguish between good and bad poetry, to explain why so much writing poetry is difficult, and to isolate the sorts of truths modern poetry seems best at conveying. Our focus will be on modern poetry, in English and in translation.