We’ll explore contemporary poems that deal with the full range of life’s experiences, from the ups and downs of ordinary living to the brilliant vistas from the mountaintop. A good poem can be a mirror, a window or a shooting star. A poem can be like a firecracker, and a new insight about life is revealed. A poem can leap like a billy goat in the spring. All of us, I dare say, have had to cope with the doldrums or what some call “melancholy.” It helps to experience how skillful poets have escaped from darkness into light, have learned the lessons lurking in the shadows behind the cobwebs in the basement. Sometimes we need the imagination to cope with mysteries like birth, love, failure, and death. This course is NOT about a psychological malady called “depression,” which often calls for professional therapy. Rather writers like Mary Oliver, Rainer Maria Rilke, Parker J. Palmer, Sylvia Plath, William Stafford, Anne Sexton, and Robinson Jeffers have transformed “the blues” into a rainbow of sparkling miracles. Through assignments and class discussions we will look for ways that our lives might be changed and enriched by excellent poems.