This course will explore the practice of "secular prayer" in early- and mid-20th Century North American poetry. We will look at diverse poetic examples of meditation, contemplation, exegesis and revelation in order to consider how and why poetry has maintained a particular relation to the sacred, even amidst a secular cultural and intellectual context. We'll also consider how this question has played out in several key strands of 20th century literary theory, with particular emphasis on New Criticism and Eco-Criticism. Primary readings will include the poetry of T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Audre Lorde, George Oppen, Robert Bly, Mary Oliver, Charles Wright and Jan Zwicky.