The course will explore the predicament of the modern poet in early 20th century history in Europe and Russia. Dante will be considered as a model figure from the past, whose testament of revolution, political strife, and exile would become exemplary for the poets facing World War I and the Russian Revolution. Through our reading of poetic and prose texts (from Italy, France, England, Germany, and Russia) we will encounter poetic movements and manifestoes of Dada, Surrealism, Futurism, and Russian symbolism ad Acmeism. We will follow the urgent concerns that emerge in the inter-poetic dialogue as poets engage with violent historical events that threaten individual thought and existence, or bring radical social change. Although we will read bilingual editions of poems, students will provide their own translations from a language they know for in-depth class discussion.