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Merrill House Programs Presents:

"Look Closely at the Letters":
An Introductory Course to James Merrill's Poetry

A Six-Part Introduction online course to Reading James Merrill’s Poetry with former Merrill Fellow, Christopher Spaide, a critic, poet, teacher, and Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. 

Wednesdays at 5:30pm, March 1-April 5, 2023



About James Merrill
and the Class 

James Ingram Merrill was an American writer of poetry, essays, fiction, and plays. He was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for poetry in 1977. At the Merrill House, we have celebrated our own fellows and Merrill's legacy, but not yet delved deep into Merrill's body of work.

This special limited-series is a rare opportunity to study  Merrill’s poetry and learn more about what inspired his writing. There will be an opportunity for participants to gather in the Merrill Apartment at the conclusion of the course.

Questions about the class? Email us 


Class Dates, Cost, & Materials 

  • Class meets Wednesdays 5:30-6:30pm from March 1-April 5 meet via zoom (please note: weekly participation is encouraged, but if you are unable to attend the class at the live time, all classes will be recorded so you can watch at your leisure). 

  • $125 for the complete course (all classes will be recorded and available to participants, in case you miss a class or would like to review)

  • In advance of the class each week, you will receive a packet of poems based on a theme chosen by instructor, Christopher Spaide

  • The five selected poems each week will be chosen from James Merrill's Selected Poems (Knopf, 2008), edited by his co-executors, the late J. D. McClatchy and Stephen Yenser.

  • The poems will be provided in your weekly handout, but you can purchase your own copy of the book at the James Merrill House Visitors Center, Bank Square Books,  or here.  

Meet your Instructor 

Christopher Spaide is a critic, poet, teacher, and Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows. His essays, reviews, and poems have appeared in Contemporary Literature, The New Yorker, Ploughshares, Poetry, Slate, The Sewanee Review, and The Yale Review. He has received fellowships and honors from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, the Keasbey Foundation, and the James Merrill House, where he was Writer in Residence in November 2022.

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