Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The roots of MIT’s literary and arts traditions can be traced back to the earliest years of the Institute’s history. The initial MIT course catalogue of 1865 offered classes in English and other modern languages; the Banjo Club and the first Tech Orchestra were formed in 1884; MIT’s Dramashop launched with a Eugene O’Neill play in 1927; and in 1932, the Institute’s newly formed Division of Humanities offered instruction in, among other subjects, music, fine arts, English, and literature.
One shining example of the literary arts at MIT is taking place each weekday afternoon during this year’s January winter break, when a group of MIT students, faculty, staff, and alumni gather around a long table in Building 14 for the 20th annual Pleasures of Poetry series — a renowned, month-long course that runs during the MIT Independent Activities Period (IAP).
“The idea is to convene a diverse community to discuss poetry,” says professor of literature David Thorburn, who founded the series in 1996. “Regardless of one’s formal background in literature, poetry should be available to everybody.”