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Hogback Community College - Course Archives

Frost in the Forest ::: Instructor John Elder ::: Feb 2011

About the Course: Beyond his subtly cadenced, musical verse and his insights into psychology and human relationships, Robert Frost was an unusually gifted observer of natural patterns and processes. We are fortunate to be living in the northern New England landscape where so many of Frost’s poems are set. His language and insights can enhance our own ability to perceive the character and potential of our forests of home.

In this seminar on the writing of Frost, we will pursue three main goals. One of these is to deepen our experience not only of his poetry but also of poetry in general, through close readings and discussions of a cluster of works including “Tree at My Window,” “Dust of Snow,” “Nothing Gold Can Stay,” “Spring Pools,” “In Hardwood Groves,” “The Need of Being Versed in Country Things,” “Come In,” and “Directive.” A second is to experience the life of our surrounding forests more vividly and discerningly. Finally, we will try to cultivate a sense of true educational community, in which each person’s insights build upon those of colleagues and contribute to an appreciation of poetry and forests beyond what any individual would have achieved alone.

In addition to two evenings of exploring poems in indoor conversation, we will take two field-trips into the forests of our Five-Town community. On these occasions, we will both continue our discussions and investigate several of the particular ecological patterns Frost calls attention to. All four of our sessions will take place within the month of February, 2011.

About the Instructor: John Elder lives in Bristol with his wife Rita and sugars in Starksboro with the families of their two sons. He taught English and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College from 1973 to 2010. John’s own writing combines descriptions of landscape and discussion of literature with memoir. In 2008 he was named Vermont Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education.

COURSE DETAILS - 4 classes

Thursday, February, 17, 2011 - 7 to 9 pm - - - - - - Location: John Elder's house
Saturday, February 19, 2011 - 9 am to 1 pm - - - - Location: The Waterworks Property (bring lunch)
Thursday, February 24, 2011 - 7 to 9 pm - - - - - - Location: John Elder's house
Saturday, February 26, 2011 - 9 am to 1 pm - - - - Location: Hillsboro (bring lunch)

A minimum of 6 students are required for the course; a maximum is set for 12 students enrolled.

FEE: $120

CREDIT HOURS*: .75 credit hour (12 hours of instruction)


Updated 3/5/2011


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