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Zephyr Poetry Society (Fall 2023): Inaugural Meeting

The Zephyr Poetry Society is a venue for the collective reading, discussion, and appreciation of the great poems of the English poetic tradition.

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Zephyr Poetry Society (Fall 2023): Inaugural Meeting
Zephyr Poetry Society (Fall 2023): Inaugural Meeting

Time & Location

Oct 11, 2023, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Palo Alto, 560 College Ave, Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA

About the Event

The Zephyr Poetry Society is a venue for those interested in exploring and connecting themselves more closely with the rich tradition of English poetry.

At the core of each meeting will be the collective reading and discussion of individual poems. Through these discussions, we will hone our analytical skills, isolating the various aesthetically relevant features of the poem (meter, imagery, content, etc.) and asking how these contribute to its overall effect. Analysis, however, will always be subordinated to our primary aim: a richer and more articulate aesthetic experience of the poem as a work of art.

In the fall term, we will meet for four sessions. The first session will be introductory. The three remaining sessions will each be focused on a different type of English poetic meter. We will try to get a sense both for how each kind of meter works, its long history, and its breadth of expressive power. The second session will consider the old Anglo-Saxon meter and its afterlife in later alliterative poetry. The third session will consider stress-verse, from popular ballads and nursery rhymes to its use by 19th century Romantic poets. Finally, the fourth session, we will consider the most regimented and type of meter, foot-based meter, from its more familiar to its more unusual varieties (e.g., English imitations of the Greek dactylic hexameter). Also at our last session, limited opportunity will be given for the reading and discussion of original poetry composed by participants during the term. Details about this opportunity will be provided at our first meeting.

Our focus will be on poems with classical status in the English poetic tradition—though we will often deviate from this rule where necessary for illustrative purposes and to represent the tradition’s breadth.

Dinner will be provided for participants at each session.


October 11th, 6:00pm

Topic: introduction and a smattering of sonnets

October 25th, 6:00pm

Topic: Anglo-Saxon alliterative meter and its afterlife

November 8th, 6:00pm

Topic: stress-verse and folk meters

December 1st, 6:00pm

Topic: foot-based meter


Stanford affiliates, including both undergraduates and graduate students, are encouraged to register.

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