Graduate Liberal Studies Program

Course Description

GLS 552: Easy Under the Apple Boughs: The Natural World in Poetry

Instructor: Ashley Hudson


"It is not the moon, I tell you.
It is these flowers
lighting the yard."
-- Louise Glück, "Mock Orange"

"Earth's the right place for love:
I don't know where it's likely to go better."
-- Robert Frost, "Birches"


In his poem "Burnt Norton," T.S. Eliot says, "The roses had the look of flowers that are looked at." This course will immerse students in the consideration of the representation of the natural world in poetry. We will examine such topics as the pathetic fallacy, the concept of a poet's emotional or internal landscape and its impact upon the external landscape of the poem, and the social and literary concerns of ecopoetry. In addition, we will examine how the representation of the natural world in poetry has evolved throughout various periods in poetic history. What does poetry tell us about the human relationship to nature? How does poetry call upon the natural world to arrive at deeper truths about the human condition?

This course will emphasize reading and discussion with an additional focus on the development of critical thinking skills related to the subject matter. Written requirements include brief critical responses in the form of weekly discussions and a final project on a topic related to material discussed in class. No prior poetry writing experience necessary.

Required Texts:

Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry, edited by Camille T. Dungy

The West Side of Any Mountain: Place, Space, and Ecopoetry, by J. Scott Bryson

MLA Handbook (8th edition) ISBN: 9781603292627

Online Readings: Please see our course website for online readings.

The Canvas course will be made available no later than the first day of classes. Please see the UNCW Academic Calendar.

Other Required Course Materials

Reliable access to a computer with uninterrupted connection to the Internet

Microsoft Word


Last Update: March 19, 2019