Poetry is a wonderful way to understand ourselves and the world around us. It is, says poet Tracy K. Smith, "a shortcut to honest conversation, a way of getting past small talk to probe the spots where our culture is most sore.” As our nation reckons with issues of race, we will take a look at some poets and their poetry to see what we can learn about race . . . and ourselves. Participants will also have an opportunity to begin creating their own poem. Never written poetry before? No worries. For this class, you will want to have paper, pen, and an item with text on it that you won't mind marking up (such as an old newspaper, magazine, or piece of junk mail).