This course focuses on the emerging counter-tradition, within American modernism and within the larger tradition of poetry in English, of American women poets in the twentieth century. Taking our cue from Adrienne Rich, who ambiguously titles one book of essays On Lies, Secrets and Silences (is she for or against?), we will follow debates about what makes it possible to break previous silences--and to what degree and in what ways it is useful or satisfying to do so. Topics within this discussion will include sexuality, race, illness, literary modes, female literary succession, and relations with the literary tradition. We will read in the work of eight or nine poets and recent critical and theoretical writings, with some attention in the first weeks to important female and male precursors. The syllabus will include such writers as Edna St.Vincent Millay, HD, Gertrude Stein, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Audre Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Marilyn Hacker, Louise Gluck, Rita Dove. Dist: LIT; WCult: W. No course group assignment.