Photograph: Wikipedia

The paradox of the new year: the promise of a fresh start brings us right back to the place where we began last time. As many college students and teachers head back into the classroom this week, we’ve asked four dynamic poet-teachers to write about the texts they return to—the poems they find themselves assigning over and over, the urgencies that recur seasonally, the arguments and inquiries they reprise with successive groups of students. Evie Shockley, Shane McCrae, DeSales Harrison, and Heather Christle have opened their classnotes and let us listen in.

—The Poetry Editors


  Evie Shockley: Ma Rainey's Blues


  Shane McCrae: The Scorpion in the Room


  DeSales Harrison: Lessons from the Union


  Heather Christle: A New Magnetic Center